Belfast Telegraph

Dublin tycoon John Teeling slams EU as he declares: 'I'm Brexiteer'

John Teeling
John Teeling

By Ellie Donelly

One of the Republic's best known and most successful entrepreneurs, John Teeling, has said European Union regulations have stymied the ability to establish and grow businesses.

"That's why I don't like Europe, I'm not pro-European at all, I'd be a Brexiter big time, absolute ridiculous regulations," he said.

"All these people have to do is create more, more and more bureaucrats and their job is to create more regulation, and regulation stifles enterprise. And yet nobody does anything about it."

The Dubliner, whose interests range from diamonds and oil to whiskey, added that US President Donald Trump "has done some things that are good".

He added: "Leave (entrepreneurs) as free as you possibly can."

While Mr Teeling acknowledged that "a lot of regulation is right", he insisted that an overregulated "nanny state" is "terrible" for businesses.

In 1987 Mr Teeling set up Cooley Distillery which, with investors, he would go on to sell to American bourbon whiskey giant Beam in 2012 for just over €70m.

He then founded Great Northern Distillery in Dundalk in 2012 on the site of the Harp Lager brewery, while his sons Jack and Stephen operate the Teelings Whiskey Distillery in the Liberties area of central Dublin.

Mr Teeling said entrepreneurship has become "sexy".

"When I first started teaching in University College Dublin, you asked first years how many wanted to start their own business and you might have got 10 out of 300, now you probably get 280, so it has changed, entrepreneurship is sexy in the world now," he said.

He explained that all entrepreneurs want is a chance, adding: "I don't think the state can provide real opportunities, you have to see those yourself, it's your vision.

"What I would love them to do is to leave us alone, do not regulate us, and certainly leave us with as much of the profits as they can.

"Don't over tax us, incentivise that way."

But he said the whiskey industry is "a labour of love" and concluded: "The risk premium attaching to something like whiskey was 30% per annum.

"No venture capital company ever came in and supported me, even to this day, no, too risky."

Belfast Telegraph