Child benefit is a subsidy to have sex - Michael O'Leary
Published 22/11/2011 | 05:00
RYANAIR boss Michael O'Leary has called for the scrapping of children's allowance payments, describing them as a subsidy for people to have sex.
He said that child benefit was "ridiculous" and neither he nor his wife needed it.
"Child benefit in this country should be scrapped. We're borrowing €1.3bn from European banks and European governments so that you can pay my wife four amounts of children's allowance when I clearly don't need it. I think it's absurd."
When it was put to him that the payment was not geared for people on high incomes such as himself, Mr O'Leary replied: "I think scrap it for everybody.
"There are clearly people on lower incomes and you need to channel children's allowance to them through income support schemes, single-parent allowances where you're trying to target money at people on very low incomes.
"But this broad band of just giving everybody children's allowance -- it's like the Government subsidising people money to have sex.
"Now, I don't know about you, but I'm very happy to have sex for free, I don't need a subsidy for it," he joked.
He said borrowing money from Europeans to give rich people in Ireland, or even people on average incomes, children's allowance, was an "absurdity".
"I'll get pilloried by the women of Ireland, but frankly, you don't need it and they'll still have children, whether they get children's allowance or not," he added.
"Channel the money where it's needed and that would be to people on lower incomes, but use income support schemes and single-parent allowances for doing that, but not some kind of ridiculous children's allowances," he argued at the opening of four new Ryanair routes from Knock airport to Paris, Milan, Frankfurt and Barcelona.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny again stressed that no decision had been taken by the Government about a much-signalled cut of €10 in children's allowance.
"Nothing has been decided about any of these matters that are being talked about, because the Cabinet has not signed off on the Budget as yet," he said.