LIMERICK businessman and philanthropist JP McManus has rejected the characterisation of him as a tax exile, saying he paid all his taxes “in full” before going abroad to set up in business.
“If I was somebody who set up a business abroad and it didn’t go so well, I’d be considered an emigrant. If it goes well, I’m considered an exile,” Mr McManus commented.
He was speaking at the UL on Saturday where around €3.5 million in funding was given to 125 college students who are this year’s recipients of the JP McManus All-Ireland Scholarships.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, special guest at the awards, was asked if he would prefer to see wealthy individuals like JP McManus pay more tax in Ireland.
Mr Kenny said replied there was freedom of movement for persons around the world and they paid taxes where they earned their money.
He also paid tribute to the businessman’s philanthropic work as “an example of how others who have made their way in life can help their country and help our people.”
Dealing with the criticism, Mr McManus said: “I didn’t leave this country for tax purposes. I left this country because I wanted to set up a business abroad”.
“My position, as I see it, is I paid my taxes before I left the country, in full. I didn’t leave the country in order to avoid paying a tax or to avoid paying a future tax that was about to come down the line.”
“I’m proud to be Irish and I think I’m doing the country more good by being abroad, trying to earn a few quid. If I decide to bring it back and spend it whatever way I like here, at least I’m improving the economy,” he said.