O'Brien defends Mcmanus from critics

O'Brien defends Mcmanus from critics

Former Limerick hurler Paudie O’Brien has jumped to the defence of JP McManus after the Irish businessman came under fire once more for his tax affairs. 

It was recently reported that McManus, one of Ireland's wealthiest men, donated €1m to all 32 counties, with the money to be distributed among GAA, ladies' football, and camogie clubs within the counties. 

The gesture has been met with kind regards, but not everyone has appreciated it. Some have slammed the Limerick native, claiming he needs to pay his taxes. 

The donation, according to People Before Profit, is exempt from income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax, and deposit interest retention tax. 

McManus is also a tax exile, claiming an official residence in Switzerland while having a current property in Limerick, Kilmallock, Ireland. 

O'Brien, who is also a native of Limerick, has defended his county man, claiming that the backlash following his donation is "ridiculous." 

“The funny thing for me is that when I read it, I wasn’t actually that surprised, to tell you the truth,” said O’Brien. “A lot of people were like that – his generosity is unbelievable.

“I’m obviously from 10 miles over the road from JP; I went to primary school in Bulgaden, which would be Bulgaden-Martinstown, so the McManus's would have been very prevalent when I was growing up. 

“We would have watched Istabraq win the Champion Hurdle in primary school when we were younger – we got a day off. 

“What they do is unbelievable. What they’ve done for Limerick is unbelievable. Obviously, people will turn around and say it helps. Of course, it helps, but he has been giving money a long, long time, and that didn’t exactly translate to success either. There is a lot more to it.” 

However, the likes of Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore have claimed McManus' goodwill gesture would be better used for more unattractive services like hospitals, schools, roads, and transport projects. 

"I know this is a stretch, but maybe just pay taxes here, you know, for all those less PR-worthy initiatives like education, health care, and public transport," she said on X.  

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy has echoed a similar sentiment with his political colleague. 

“If billionaires and major corporations were properly taxed in this country, there would be enough money to properly fund grassroots sports and address the housing and health crises," Murphy said to The Journal. 

O'Brien has doubled down on his belief that what McManus has done is ultimately a good thing and refutes the backlash. 

“It's just ridiculous,” said O’Brien. “The GAA is just one facet. Look at what he puts into horse racing in the country. Look at what he puts into soccer in Limerick. What he puts into healthcare – it goes on and on and on. What more do you want the guy to do? 

“I don’t buy any of that. Anyone with any bit of common sense is in the same category when it comes to it.”