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Monday 24 July 2017

Young people should emigrate now, says millionaire Brosnan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Multi-millionaire businessman Denis Brosnan has advised young people to emigrate as there won't be a job for them in Ireland for the next five years.

Offering his advice to the present generation of school leavers and college graduates, the founder of the hugely successful Kerry Group food company said: "Everybody has to try their best to pull through in whatever fashion they can.

"Maybe it's for another generation. You're not going to find jobs in this country for the next four or five years.

"So you can do two things -- you can go for further education if your parents or somebody else can keep you there. But if you can't, just go and emigrate because there are no jobs here. It's a very sad thing to have to say."

Mr Brosnan's blunt summation of the options facing the country's youth came in the course of an interview with the Sunday Independent in relation to the level of betting tax levied on bookmakers, an issue on which he is now focussed in his role as the chairman of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).

As the Budget approaches, Mr Brosnan and his board are appealing to the Government to restore the levy from its current level of one per cent to the two per cent which had been charged up to 2001, in an effort to raise funds to support the ailing horse racing industry.

As it stands, both the horse racing and greyhound racing industries are heavily subsidised by the taxpayer. This is despite the fact that the amount of money bet through the country's bookmakers has increased from €1.3bn in 2001 to a massive €4.5bn in 2009.

Of the 2009 figure, some €3bn was bet in Ireland, delivering €31m in levies for the Exchequer, while €1.5bn was gambled off-shore, avoiding the payment of betting tax.

Had the levy remained at the two per cent charged up until 2001, the Exchequer would have collected €62m, reducing the requirement for the taxpayer to fund the horse racing industry significantly.

Should the Government fail to address the issue of the betting tax, Mr Brosnan believes the very survival of the Irish horse racing industry could be in jeopardy.

"Either the industry is bet-funded or we will have to write it off, as we have done with so many other industries," he said.

Mr Brosnan's fears would appear to be borne out by at least one crucial statistic. Such has been the decline in Irish horse racing, the number of foals registered has dropped from 12,800 in 2008 to 7,400 in 2010.

Comparing what he fears is happening in the racing industry now to the fate that befell Ireland's indigenous food production, Mr Brosnan said: "I've been steeped in the food industry for 35 years, and I saw the export of the food industry out of Ireland in the period from 1995 to 2005, where it and all the jobs associated with it, was effectively exported to the UK and Eastern Europe. During that period, the Government stood still and said it was all to do with cost and cost competitiveness.

"But Ireland was in a boom time and that industry got exported. It would be a great pity now if I had spent 20 years in another industry to see it at the end of its days also being exported."

Sunday Independent

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