Mr Martin, who replaced Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach last month, was questioned about the issue by Irish broadcaster RTE on Thursday. His hint the EU could have a role in levying taxes raised alarm bells with Ray Bassett, Ireland‘s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
The Fianna Fail leader was specifically asked about the EU’s proposal to levy a digital tax to help bankroll its £750 coronavirus rescue plan aimed at mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
Mr Martin said: “We think Europe needs to give far more detailed consideration to other proposals including, for example, a digital tax, the full implications of that at a time of unprecedented economic upheaval would need to be fully examined.
“We would not be supporting that because Europe is taking a hit economically. We don’t want to do anything that would create further hits or further unintended consequences.
“Without question, this is an ongoing agenda in terms of the global world situation, and big global companies and the need of states to have sufficient revenue Europe wide to deal with all the challenges that are facing us.”
Mr Bassett subsequently tweeted: “Hard to listen to Taoiseach Micheal Martin on RTE endorse giving the EU Commission direct tax raising powers in the member states, the so called own resources.
“Will anything be left of Irish independence when the Euro Federalists are finished? It is a shame. A new act of union.”
Mr Bassett explained: “Any new taxes will be eventually paid by the citizens of the Member States.
“Presumably any new taxes would be collected by the national tax authorities and handed over to Brussels.”
The prominent Irish eurosceptic added: “The EU Recovery Plan is the classic EU response to any crisis, namely more Europe.
“In every crisis new powers are transferred to Brussels which are never returned.
“Once the Commission is given the power to raise taxes then a special red line will have been passed.
“As in all other areas, Brussels will gradually increase its powers.
“Once conceded, tax-raising powers will never be taken away from Brussels and a huge new power will be transferred from the national States to the EU.”
Mr Bassett said he was at a loss to understand why any Irish government would back the recovery plan, which is currently the subject of intense wrangling in Brussels, especially from the so-called “frugal four” countries (Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria) who fear it will trigger runaway public spending in the south of the bloc.
He added: “Ireland is in the same position as the frugal four countries which have opposed the Plan.
“It will receive very little of the new funds available but, as a large net contributor to the EU budget, will see large sums extracted from the Irish taxpayer to service this new debt.”