Quarter of Irish billionaires ‘only Irish for tax purposes’
A quarter of the eight Irish billionaires listed on Forbes magazine’s billionaire list are former American citizens, who have received huge tax breaks as a result of adopting Irish citizenship, according to Workers’ Party councillor Éilis Ryan (North Inner city Dublin). Cllr Ryan was referring to John Dorrance, heir to the Campbell’s soup-empire, and John Grayken, founder of Lone Star private equity fund
Commenting on the 2017 list published this morning (Tuesday 21st March), Cllr. Ryan said:
The fact that two of the eight people listed as ‘Irish’ billionaires have effectively only taken out Irish citizenship to avoid paying taxes on their wealth is an indictment on Ireland’s tax system.
A Republic has no business luring the super-wealthy by telling them they can pay less tax here. The amount of wealth accumulated by the super-wealthy is unjustifiable in itself – but in Ireland we do not even tax this wealth properly.
Cllr. Ryan said there are clear tax benefits for the super-wealthy who swap their US passports for Irish citizenship:
When John Dorrance sold his stake in Campbell’s soup, he emigrated to Ireland, according to Forbes, in order to avoid capital gains tax – and was granted citizenship in exchange for planting €1.5million worth of trees in Ireland.
The Workers’ Party councillor also queried whether those who lead companies detrimental to the interests of the Irish people should be granted citizenship, pointing to the fact that Lone Star, owned by now-Irish billionaire John Grayken, is one of the major vulture funds buying and selling distressed Irish mortgages and debt.
Éilis Ryan concluded:
Companies like Lone Star have been instrumental to worsening the debt and evictions crisis in Ireland. That we reward the founders of such company with citizenship – and the tax breaks that come with that in Ireland – speaks volumes to our state’s attitude to who deserves what in Ireland.