'Revenue to blame' for job losses
The managing director of one of the State's largest haulage firms, which ceased trading yesterday with the loss of nearly 400 jobs, has claimed that the company closed because of hardline tactics adopted by the Revenue Commissioners.
Seamus McBrien said his company, Target Express, had paid €1 million to the Revenue Commissioners in the last six weeks.
He claimed the Revenue had yesterday rejected a deal which would have seen the company pay off a further €175,000 from an overall outstanding liability of €300,000. As a result, he said, 398 people had lost their jobs because the Revenue insisted on receiving the additional €125,000.
The Revenue Commissioners declined to comment on the case yesterday.
Mr McBrien told The Irish Times last night he had approached the offices of three Cabinet ministers – Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar – to ask them to make representations. However, he said, they did not wish to become involved.
“I am from Northern Ireland and I came down here and established a wonderful business. But I pity anyone trying to operate a business in the Republic of Ireland at this time given the way the Revenue Commissioners have treated me and my company.
“If I was a US company they would have been crawling all over me yesterday, offering me grants to stay.”
Mr McBrien said he felt very sad for his 398 employees who had been loyal to him over the years. Some staff, he added, had offered to work for nothing for a few weeks to see if the difficulties could be resolved. However he believed he could not proceed on such a basis.
He said the company had to cease trading as the Revenue had frozen its bank accounts and he could not pay his workers.
Mr McBrien said he was disappointed that the Revenue Commissioners “could make a decision that results in all these people being put out of work and will probably cost the exchequer €5 million over the coming year in social welfare payments and in lost taxes which would have been paid.”
Today, Revenue again said it will not comment on the tax affairs of any particular business or individual but revealed, in general, cases are referred by Revenue for enforcement where a taxpayer or business has failed to comply with the obligation to pay tax that is due and where there are no satisfactory proposals towards addressing the debt.
“In every case, prior to enforcement action by Revenue, the taxpayer or business will have been informed that continuing non-compliance is likely to result in enforcement action,” a spokeswoman added.
It is understood the Revenue Commissioners last week placed attachments on the company’s bank account. One of the larger customers of Target Express, the fashion chain A Wear, said last night it was aware that the company had ceased operations. It said it was working with management at the firm in relation to distribution arrangements.