Travel tax could be re-introduced if airlines don’t increase passenger traffic - Varadkar

Unemployment will be below 400,000 next week, says Burton

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

Thu, Oct 17, 2013, 01:01

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has cautioned that the €3 travel tax has been suspended but not abolished.

He told the Dáil that the legislative provision for the tax remained in place and he would monitor the response of the airlines over the summer period.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan announced in the budget that the €3 tax, originally €10, charged to each airline ticket would be ended from April next year.

The Government retained the tax in last year’s budget and Mr Varadkar noted a statement from Ryanair yesterday that it would increase the number of passengers travelling into Irish airports by one million next year. “I look forward to seeing the details of this and analysing closely to see whether they are inbound tourists coming to Ireland and, therefore, helping to create employment here.”

He said he would also be “eagerly awaiting the response from the other airlines to this decision”. He added that “it is open to the Minister for Finance to reintroduce the travel tax at €3, €5 or even €10 next October should the response not be satisfactory”.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said the Government expected the unemployment figures to be below 400,000 next week.

She said that the Live Register figures were 500,000 when the Government came to office, but last Friday the figure stood at 400,807 and “should go below 400,000 next week. This will see the Live Register at its lowest level since May 2009.”

Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh criticised Ms Burton’s claim that core weekly welfare rates were protected. “Just because you repeat something 100 times doesn’t make it true,” he said. “It is wrong to suggest weekly rates are not being cut. Young people will be down by €44 each week.”