Air Travel Tax must go - Breen

November 24th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Reacting to comments made by the Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin at Failte Ireland’s National Conference yesterday in relation to the controversial €10 Air Travel Tax, Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen said today (Wednesday) that “we have listened to enough double-speak from Cabinet Ministers over the past number of weeks, if the Air Travel Tax “is up for consideration” then a proposal to axe the tax must be contained in this afternoon’s Government 4-year Economic Plan and a tax proposal included in Budget 2011 to give effect to its abolition.”

“We have listened to enough double-speak from Cabinet Ministers over the past number of weeks and while I welcome Minister Hanafin’s comments that the abolition of the Air Travel tax is “up for consideration”, if she is serious then a proposal to axe this tax must be contained in this afternoon’s 4-year Economic Plan and a tax proposal included in Budget 2011 to give effect to its abolition.”

“This controversial tax has been a disaster for our Tourism Industry and a disaster for Shannon Airport. The revenues returned from the tax have not achieved what was expected, at the end of September when I questioned Minister Lenihan on this matter, at that stage €78.4 million had only been raised from the tax, which falls well short of the expected €125m.”

“The casualties of this tax are clear for all to see, the tourism industry here in County Clare has experienced a significant drop in business this year in the face of declining visitor numbers as a result of axing and reduction of services at Shannon Airport.”

“Ryanair, Aer Lingus and City Jet took the unusual step of issuing a joint statement citing the imposition of this tax for the fall in passenger numbers and the reduction and axing of routes. If a decision is taken to axe this tax, then there is an onus on these Airlines to deliver new routes and increased capacity into this Country and especially at Shannon Airport.”

“In any event, the game is up for this Government and its days are numbered. One of the first tasks of a Fine Gael led Government will be to abolish this ridiculous tax; which will help to boost visitor numbers and revive our ailing tourism industry.”

ENDS.