French Presidential front runner Emmanuel Macron has taken aim at Ireland's corporate tax system and said that the gap in tax systems between EU member states would have to be reduced in the coming years.
Speaking to RTÉ News, Mr Macron said: "As for Ireland, we do know today that that's the bias for a lot of corporates, that it's bias for a lot of sectors and especially the digital sectors."
Speaking at a news conference in Toulouse on the second last day of campaigning, Mr Macron said the European Commission had taken "a very important decision a few months ago regarding state aid and precisely the current [tax] organisation of Ireland.
"I do believe that what we have to do in the coming years is to reduce the different gaps in social and tax considerations between member states.
BREAKING: Emmanuel Macron takes aim at Ireland's corporate tax system tells @rtenews "we need to reduce the gaps in tax btwn member states".— Tony Connelly (@tconnellyRTE) May 4, 2017
Responding to Mr Macron's comments in Canada, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that Ireland's corporate tax rate would not be changing and that the rate was "our business".
He said: "Ireland's tax rate has been 12.5% for many years across all sectors and it has not moved up, it has not moved down, and it will stay where it is".
Mr Kenny also said he hoped that Mr Macron wins the election because "he is very strongly pro-European and he has an understanding of what it is to be a minister for finance".
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On the recent Brexit divisions between Brussels and London, Mr Macron warned: "What the UK is experiencing is precisely the fact that Brexit is not a walk in the park.
"It's extremely complicated on a financial basis and in terms of organisation and consequences," he said.