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There's not a ghost of a chance BOD feels guilty about his nice tax break

Revenue have added insult to injury to those authors who felt hard done by at the recent Irish Book Awards - which saw fit to award the Sports Book of the Year to Brian O'Driscoll for his autobiography.

It's bad enough giving Brian a literary award when, technically speaking, he didn't actually write the book, with that job undertaken by a ghost writer.

Now comes the news, however, that he has struck it lucky in the Revenue's annual list of artists entitled to tax exemptions, meaning that he will probably not to have pay any tax on his income from The Test.

This exemption was originally introduced by that great lover of the arts, Charlie Haughey, as a means of encouraging foreign artists and writers to reside in Ireland by offering them tax-free residence.


But over the years the breadth of people entitled to claim such breaks has grown relentlessly.

It has now become simply a way for people to earn some tax free cash by putting their name to a book, regardless of the book's artistic merit, or whether they actually wrote it or not.

Brian O'Driscoll has had a magnificent professional career and is fully entitled to publish and make money from his memoirs.

But while the question of whether someone who didn't write their autobiography should receive an award for it is a debatable one, the question of whether someone as wealthy as O'Driscoll should not have to pay tax on his earnings for that tome is patently not.

A committee has been set up by the Government to review this tax break, and it is apparently in favour of abolishing it altogether. To which one can only add the following. Get a move on.