The decision, part of a broader crackdown on tax avoidance by the European Union commissioner for competition, slammed Ireland for providing illegal incentives that allowed Apple to cut its tax bill in the region to virtually nothing some years. The clawback of taxes — 13 billion euros, or about $14.5 billion, plus interest — is a record penalty by the union for such activities.
Ireland suffered mightily from the Great Recession. It can use the revenues. However, Apple’s Tim Cook said that the company would appeal the EU decision. That process could take years. Ireland may also appeal, asserting that it has a right to make whatever deals with corporations it wants.
UPDATE Aug. 30, 2016:
Tim Cook publishes a letter.