From: The Office of the Irish Finance Minister

31, August 1990.

Dear Mr Date,

The Minister for Finance, Mr Albert Reynolds T. D., has asked me to refer to your recent letter to the Taoiseach concerning the £5.00 travel tax.

This tax is imposed in respect of each and every passenger ticket relating wholly to carriage by a ship or aircraft on a voyage or a flight commencing in the State to a destination, other than Northern Ireland, outside the State, with exemptions for certain groups such as pilgrimages, school trips etc. The tax is not imposed by reference to the place of residence of persons who are carried but rather to the place of purchase of their tickets.

In the vast majority of cases, tourists to this country purchase all their travel tickets in their own country and are therefore not charged the Irish £5 travel tax. Ireland, however, is not the only country in the EC which imposes this type of tax and it is understood that both Belgium and Denmark have similar taxes. The United States, among other countries, imposes an airport tax on every person as they leave the country, regardless of where they reside or where their ticket was purchased.

While sympathetic to the problem the Irish tax can pose for certain persons, the Minister is satisfied that it does not have an adverse affect on tourism, nor in the present difficult budgetary situation does he consider it an unreasonable burden on travellers when it would generally amount to only a small proportion of the cost of the travel ticket. However, he will bear your views in mind when the tax is next reviewed.

Yours sincerely,

p.p. Brenda Ward
Private Secretary