Apple is under fire from the U.S. government for not paying U.S. tax on its overseas income, which is the majority of its revenue, and Ireland is one of the nations it uses for its tax breaks. Now the European nation has responded to U.S. criticism of Apple's tax position back home, saying Ireland isn't to blame if the IRS can't grab Apple's taxes.
Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore is quoted by Reuters as saying that the issues facing companies like Apple, Google and others using Ireland as a regional headquarters "arise from the taxation systems in other jurisdictions, and that is an issue that has to be addressed first of all in those jurisdictions." Furthermore Ireland says it doesn't allow Apple to use a lower local tax rate, which is a direct contradiction to an allegation raised by Congress.
Apple has responded to the allegations by saying the vast majority of its income is made from selling products like the iPhone overseas--and that it's already the largest payer of corporate tax in the U.S. Since these are products that are made overseas, shipped by foreign firms, and sold via regional stores staffed with local employees, it's hard to argue with Apple's position--and that's more or less what the Irish government's position seems to be.
Separately, Amazon and Google have recently been scolded by the British government for their low local tax payments, and France has considered levying an "Apple tax" on goods like smartphones and tablets, as it says these devices may erode French culture.