Minister of State Robert Troy has defended lower tax rates for highly paid executives of multinationals based in Ireland.
His comments came after the Irish Examiner reported that Sinn Féin plans to abolish special tax breaks for executives if elected to government.
The controversial Special Assignee Relief Programme (Sarp) was established in 2012 to entice entrepreneurs and social innovators into Ireland by providing additional tax relief on high incomes for up to five years. Such tax breaks have cost the exchequer up to €42 million a year.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today show, Mr Troy said it was important to put the issue in context. "The people that we're talking about here, we're trying to attract into Ireland," he said.
"These are highly skilled, mobile workers who, at the drop of a hat, could choose to relocate themselves elsewhere but, probably, far more riskier [sic] is to relocate maybe their department or the company that they work for to another jurisdiction and thereby potentially relocate tens of thousands of jobs."
Mr Troy said removing Sarp would result in less intake from corporation tax and other taxes, resulting in less support for families and public services.
"That's why only in the last couple of weeks both Minister Humphreys and Minister Norma Foley introduced enhanced payments to the Back to School allowance, they waived the school transport fees for all pupils across Ireland for 2023 because of the cost of living crisis. They rolled out the free meals scheme across the country.
"We can only do that because we have the necessary resources to do that. A key part of having the necessary resources is our ability to attract and retain those 1,700 multinational companies that have chosen Ireland as a place to invest in."