TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has pledged to reduce taxes in Ireland to encourage Irish people living abroad to return home.
Mr Kenny spoke of how the Irish tax system has left many workers ‘screwed’, with those living in overseas countries such as Britain, Australia and the US faring better financially.
“If you’re earning €33,800 in this country you’re going to hit the 51 per cent rate of tax,” the Taoiseach said. “It’s too high a rate and it kicks in too early.
“So how do you fix that — you just can’t say reduce that and give them more money. You have to balance it on the other side.
“You have to have a stepped approach to this. That makes it more difficult for our sons and daughters to come home — they say, ‘Why should I, if I’m going to get screwed for tax here?’”
Speaking at the 35th MacGill Summer School in Co. Donegal, Mr Kenny said the Irish Government’s aim for 2016 was to have more people coming back to Ireland than leaving.
He said over 104,000 new jobs had already been created due to a “rising confidence” in the business sector.
But he pledged to better that by having more people working in Ireland than ever before by 2019.
“We have to deal with the taxation system. We have a long way to go,” he said.
“Somebody working in the States or Britain... in each of these countries people on average earnings get to keep far more of their pay then they would in Ireland.”
Arriving at the MacGill Summer School, which took place in the village of Glenties last week, the Taoiseach was heckled by anti-water charges protesters.
“Thank you for the welcome, inside and outside,” he joked before addressing guests.
Ireland at the Crossroads was the theme of this year’s summer school.