Tax on private jets landing in Ireland not ruled out by Eamon Ryan

Tax on private jets landing in Ireland not ruled out by Eamon Ryan

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said 'flying a private jet from Dublin to Cork emits 2.2t of carbon, or the average output of a three-bedroom home in six months'. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

The transport minister has said he is prepared to consider taxing private jets that land in and depart the country.

Eamon Ryan told the Oireachtas transport committee the suggestion is the "exact sort of arrangement" that could be examined in a review of Irish aviation policy. Mr Ryan told Sinn Féin's Darren O'Rourke that he "looks forward" to discussing the idea.

The most recent figures pre-Covid, from 2019, show that 9,000 private jets flew into Irish airports, equating to 16 jets a day — or one every hour and a half.

The idea of a tax on private jets was raised in the Dáil last week during statements on the Cop27 summit in Egypt by Mr O'Rourke's colleague Thomas Gould. 

He cited the example of US rapper Travis Scott who, it was reported, had taken a private jet for a journey the equivalent of Dublin to Cork.

"Flying a private jet from Dublin to Cork emits 2.2t of carbon, or the average output of a three-bedroom home in six months, yet after two and a half years in government, the Green Party still has not considered a single measure to tackle these private jets," said Mr Gould.

Asked about taxes on long-haul and short-haul flights, Mr Ryan said he wants to see a "level playing field" and would support the extension of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) to cover all flights around the world. 

He agreed with Mr O'Rourke that the current system, which does not include some countries "is not fair".

Mr Ryan said that a broad outline of this extension had been agreed at Cop27 last month. He said that he believes it "can and will garner international support" but it could take two years.

However, Mr Ryan rejected criticism from Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary who told the committee last week that his company is being punitively taxed.

Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe told the committee that short-haul flights are being hit with particularly high taxes and said that Mr Ryan's comments at the Cop summit — where he spoke in favour of a €1 per plane ticket contribution to a climate damage fund — would "instil fear" in those who rely on aviation for employment.

"I find that hard to reconcile with aviation growth — and particularly as an island nation."

Cathal Crowe TD told the transport committee that short-haul flights are being hit with particularly high taxes. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Cathal Crowe TD told the transport committee that short-haul flights are being hit with particularly high taxes. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

"Ireland is in need of a taxation carve-out because at the moment, the long haul-flights and connecting flights are exempt from environmental taxes. But point-to-point short haul — which is exactly what we have coming out of Ireland - that is being punitively taxed,"

However, Mr Ryan rejected this idea and defended his comments.

"I stand by my comments at the Cop27 which were backed up and supported by the vice president of the European Commission."

He said that he "hopes" the €1 levy will be agreed by the transition committee which will be responsible for hammering out the details of the COP27 agreement.

In his opening statement, Mr Ryan had told the committee that "a fundamental change is necessary to mitigate the negative impacts caused to our environment by air travel".

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