High taxes a ‘serious problem’ in attracting talent - Varadkar

Varadkar says Government will remain firm in defending 12.5% corporation tax rate

Leo Varadkar:  if there was no Government aviation policy in place “half of the country’s regional airports would close down”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Leo Varadkar: if there was no Government aviation policy in place “half of the country’s regional airports would close down”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted the country’s “very high income tax rates are a serious problem” in attracting talent into the economy.

Addressing a Shannon Chamber of Commerce event at Dromoland Castle in Co Clare at the weekend, Mr Varadkar said this was “something we are aware of and want to change into the future”.

In recent years the American Chamber of Commence has been lobbying government to address the tax regime for high-earners to make it more attractive for them to come here.

The Taoiseach also said the Government would remain firm in defending the 12.5% corporation tax rate.“It is not going to change. It is Government policy to leave it as it is. Our view is that tax is a national competence, and that national governments should set national taxes.

“Are we coming under pressure on it? You bet we are. We will continue to resist any attempts to change.”

The Taoiseach noted that countries such as Bulgaria (9 per cent) and Hungary (10 per cent) have lower corporation tax rates than Ireland.

Airports

In wide-ranging comments on aviation and taxation policy, Mr Varadkar also said on Saturday afternoon that if there was no Government aviation policy in place “half of the country’s regional airports would close down”.

“Certainly without Government support Kerry, Donegal and possibly Knock airports would close, and Shannon and Cork would struggle even more.

“We can’t tell airlines where to land, and we can’t tell people what airports to use. If we tried we would probably fail. The era of government commanding that aircraft land in Shannon is long over, and I don’t think anyone would suggest that we would go back to that.”