DUBLIN Ireland's government won strong backing from parliament for its appeal against a 13-billion-euro back tax bill the European Commission ordered it to collect from Apple, following 12 hours of debate on Wednesday.
Ireland's fragile coalition overcame initial misgivings from independent members of cabinet to join Apple last week in fighting the ruling that Ireland granted state aid to the company through undue and selective tax benefit.
The government says Ireland did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple and that no state aid was provided, and it won a motion to endorse its position in parliament by 93 votes to 36.
"The picture of Ireland painted by the Commission in its decision, as a country prepared to play fast and loose with the law to gain unfair advantage, could not be more damaging or further from the truth," Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told lawmakers.
"This is not a Commission finding that stands by a small country that has played by the rules. It cannot be allowed to stand."
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by James Dalgleish)