O'Brien turns his back on 'negative' Ireland

Telecoms entrepreneur Mr Denis O'Brien has said he will not move back to Ireland in the foreseeable future, blaming a prevalent…

Telecoms entrepreneur Mr Denis O'Brien has said he will not move back to Ireland in the foreseeable future, blaming a prevalent "negative culture" towards politicians and entrepreneurs in the State.

The founder of the telecoms firm Esat Telecom also warns that the Republic is fast turning into a "communist" state, and has strongly criticised the leaking of details of his personal tax affairs.

Mr O'Brien, who may have saved up to €55 million in tax by moving to Portugal before he sold Esat in 2000 for €2.3 billion, says he will make no apologies for where he lives.

"I can live anywhere in the world and nobody is going to stop me ... This is not China in the 1970s or 1980s. People can move and live wherever. People can invest and move their capital."


Mr O'Brien says he is happier living outside Ireland as "there is too much shite going on inside Ireland at the moment".

"I think people are too negative towards politicians, Government, and entrepreneurs. We are fast turning into a communist state. We are fast moving towards communist doctrine.

"People in this country should be thankful for what they have achieved in the last 10 years. Instead, I come back to Ireland and people are screaming like spoiled children."

Mr O'Brien expresses extreme annoyance at media reports which recently alleged he faced a €55 million tax claim after a Revenue investigation into his tax residency in Portugal.

"I think there is a basic right that people's tax affairs should be between themselves and the Revenue Commissioners. People leaking details is just totally unacceptable."

Mr O'Brien sought a court injunction preventing the publication of any details of his dispute with the Revenue Commissioners.

In an interview in Business This Week, Mr O'Brien calls for the winding up of the Moriarty tribunal, which is investigating the circumstances surrounding Esat Telecom's successful bid for the second mobile phone licence.

Mr O'Brien, who remains a key witness in the tribunal, says Moriarty is going nowhere and is costing at least €100,000 per day.

He also attacks the media and business interests of Sir Anthony O'Reilly, who outbid him for Eircom in 2001. He alleges that Independent News & Media's titles have made "outrageous attacks against me and my company".

Mr O'Brien became one of the richest entrepreneurs in the State when he netted €290 million in the sale of Esat to British Telecom. He is founder and shareholder of a mobile business in the Caribbean.