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Ireland holds firm on corporate tax rate

Deputy Prime Minister Mary Coughlan said the 12.5 per cent rate - one of the lowest in the eurozone

Ireland's government said that it will not agree to raising its low corporate tax rates in exchange for an EU bailout.

With speculation on the rise that Berlin and Paris will press for Ireland to raise the tax as part of a bail-out deal, Deputy Prime Minister Mary Coughlan said the 12.5 per cent rate - one of the lowest in the eurozone - was "non-negotiable."

On Thursday, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said that while he felt "no sense of shame" over Ireland's economic track, it would require external assistance given the downturn in growth.

Representatives of the European Union Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund arrived in Dublin on Thursday to discuss Ireland's debt crisis and negotiate the terms for a bail-out.

The country's European Minister Dick Roche reiterated the point on corporate tax. Talking to the BBC, Roche said, "There has been some very unhelpful chatter in the background in the last few days about our corporation profit tax. Where would be the sense of destroying one of the great drivers of growth?"