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Republic of Ireland's tax rates 'won't be decided by EU'

The Republic of Ireland's EU commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn has insisted tax rises are a matter for the Irish government and not the EU to decide.

"It's very important to re-emphasise that any decision in regard to taxation is a sovereign decision of the member state, and Ireland will decide what policy it's going to pursue in regard to tax," she said.

Her comments come the week after her Finnish colleague Olli Rehn announced the end of Ireland's status as a low-tax economy, saying the next decade would see it transform into a "normal tax country".

She made the comments just weeks ahead of the due date for Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's four-year Budget plan, which will lay out how the Government intends to close the gap in the public finances.

The European Commission says it will look in detail into the plan to make sure the Government can reduce its ?19bn Budget shortfall by a 2014 deadline.

However, Ms Geoghegan-Quinn denied the commission would be imposing its will on Mr Lenihan.

Belfast Telegraph