Ryanair boss to pay over €14m in taxes as government dithering costs Ireland 5,000 jobs and €106m in tax revenue
Ryanair’s Chief Executive, Michael O’Leary today wrote a cheque to Bertie Ahern’s Government for over €14m, being his estimate of his taxes, which are due for payment today (Friday, 31st October 2003).
Handing over a cheque at Government Buildings today, the Ryanair boss criticized Bertie Ahern’s Government for failing (for another 12 months) to introduce competing terminals at Dublin Airport. This further delay and inaction has lost Ireland over 5,000 new jobs and a further €106m annually in taxes from the PAYE/PRSI on those jobs. These jobs would be created at Dublin Airport and in the Irish tourism industry, at the rate of 1,000 new jobs for every additional 1 million passengers carried by Ryanair to/from Ireland.
Ryanair has repeatedly promised the Irish Government that if competing second (and third) terminals at Dublin Airport are constructed, then Ryanair would base a minimum of 10 additional aircraft here in Dublin, open up 20 new low fare routes between Ireland and Europe, guarantee the delivery of 5 million additional passengers p.a. to/from this country, generating over €100m annually in tax revenues and creating the largest single investment in Irish tourism.
Bertie Ahern’s government however has dithered for yet another year on this issue. Even the Minister for Transport has confirmed that “the taxpayer gets this free so we would be mad to say no”. Yet having received 13 expressions of interest last October to develop - at no cost to the State - competing terminals at Dublin Airport, not one centimetre of progress has been made in the ensuing 12 months on this subject. Irish tourism and the urgent need for new jobs continue to suffer as Bertie Ahern dithers.
Speaking today as he pays over €14m in tax, Michael O’Leary said:
“€14m in tax in one year is a high price to pay for the privilege of living in Mullingar. It is also a high price to pay to a Government which talks about forcing monopolies to “get real”, but then in practice does nothing about opening up its own airport monopoly to competition.
“Ireland is facing into tough economic times. These times call for leadership and decision making. Instead of action our Prime Minister gives us delay, fudge and dither. If a second terminal was built at Dublin Airport, 5,000 new jobs would be created and additional tax revenue of over €100m p.a. would be generated. It is difficult to see why Bertie Ahern’s Government can’t seem to make even simple decisions which are good for consumers and our tourism industry, particularly at a time when our health services, our schools and our hospitals are running short of funding and could badly do with an extra €100m each year.
“I am paying enormous amounts of tax to a Government that won’t make decisions on behalf of competition and consumers, but this is just a fraction of the money which is being lost to Ireland by Bertie’s Governments’ dithering on this issue. Let’s see some leadership, let’s introduce some competition and let us create 5,000 new jobs in Irish tourism”.