Limerick councillor calls for ‘more time’ for JP McManus

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

Cllr John Gilligan in his time as mayor, pictured with JP McManus at a reception in Thomond Park
FORMER mayor John Gilligan wants the City Council to lobby government to allow JP McManus spend more time in Ireland.

FORMER mayor John Gilligan wants the City Council to lobby government to allow JP McManus spend more time in Ireland.

At present, the Martinstown businessman is only allowed to spend 183 days a year in Ireland due to his status as non-resident for tax purposes.

But Cllr Gilligan thinks the government should spare JP from the “bureaucratic nonsense” because the multi-millionaire raises so much money for good causes.

He has submitted a motion to be heard at the next full council meeting asking that his residency period in Ireland be extended to allow JP to hold the Pro-Am event, saying “organising a golf classic to international standards and welcoming the top golfers in the world takes a lot of time and effort.”

The JP McManus Pro-Am is not going ahead next year, despite it raising more than €43m last time out. The star-studded golf tournament took place at Adare Manor every five years from 1995 up to 2010, with money raised going to various charitable projects selected by the JP McManus foundation.

While many expected this to go ahead again in 2015, the Leader recently revealed it would not be happening, with sources close to Mr McManus citing his limited time in Ireland as the main reason.

However, Cllr Gilligan believes a bit of governmental encouragement could put the event back on track.

“In an incredible move, the Government has decided to change the way it counts the time JP flies in and out of the country from his work base in Geneva, so he has now been deprived of time to plan another classic,” Cllr Gilligan said. “Just how stupid can we be?”

He added: “Common sense dictates that people like JP who spend time raising money for areas and projects which the Government cannot or will not fund should be welcomed with open arms and time spent in doing this should be exempt from this bureaucratic nonsense.

“Incompetence wins and Limerick loses yet again.”

The St Mary’s Park-based councillor said he cannot recall any project, particularly in disadvantaged areas which has not benefitted from the “basic humanity and kindness” of JP McManus.

“The buildings made possible are now focal points for a host of activities. Information, education and skills training are common at all and provide the most positive kind of assistance available, helping people help themselves,” he explained.

Cllr Gilligan’s motion is expected to trigger a debate at the council meeting, slated to take place at the end of this month. Only last week, the Leader revealed that Mr McManus is to donate a further €40m to good causes in the region.