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Air Passenger Duty: Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir to seek review

Published 01/06/2016

Air Passenger Duty: Máirtín Ó Muilleoir wants Executive to have full control
Air Passenger Duty: Máirtín Ó Muilleoir wants Executive to have full control

Stormont's Minister for Finance, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has said he will seek an early review of Air Passenger Duty (APD).

Mr Ó Muilleoir said he believes the Executive should have full control of APD. He was speaking as he visited Belfast International Airport on Wednesday on his was way to New York.

The minister said: "I met with International Airport management this morning and was encouraged to note the recent network growth and development at the airport, resulting in an additional 500 on-site jobs.

"It's my view that the Executive should have full control of Air Passenger Duty so that we can make decisions in the interest of our community in terms of tourism, business and job creation. We need an early review of the ongoing application of APD by London on all short haul routes across Britain and Europe.”

The minister met with Belfast International Airport's managing director, Graham Keddie. Mr Keddie said the support from the Finance Minister was hugely encouraging and important.

He said: "APD is a barrier to growth. The Republic of Ireland has done away with the tax, and Scotland wants to do the same, but there was, until now, a reluctance at Stormont to grasp the nettle.

"I fully support an early review of APD and the damage it is causing this economy. There have been wild estimates as to what it would cost the Executive, but little by way of the very tangible benefits that would flow from reducing the rate or doing away with it altogether.

"Zero-rate tax in the Republic of Ireland hands Dublin a great advantage over our airports in Northern Ireland. Even though we are seeing impressive passenger growth, much, much more could be achieved if APD didn’t exist.

"It is not fanciful to say that thousands of new jobs would be created if APD was consigned to history.

"The minister’s intervention gives us renewed hope. If other Ministers buy into his clear-sighted view, then we might just see movement in the right direction."

During his visit to New York Mr Ó Muilleoir will undertake ministerial engagements with key Irish-American leaders.

He plans to meet with Loretta Brennan Glucksman and John Kiernan, President of the NYC Bar Association.

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