Tax exile and millionaire philantrophist JP McManus has decided not to go ahead with his charity Invitational Pro-Am next year, according to sources quoted by the Limerick Leader.
In a story by Eugene Phelan, it is suggested that tax laws, which force the 63-year old businessman to spend at least half the year outside Ireland, are part of the reason for the decision to shelve plans for an event which has taken place every five years since 1995 and raised around €100m for charity.
The news sounds like the end for an event that generated €43m ($58m) for local charities when it was last held at Adare Manor in Limerick in 2010.
According to the Limerick Leader:
The decision is understood to have been made in recent days by the 63-year-old Mr McManus after he held meetings with close associates involved in the running of the event.
The two-day tournament has previously attracted the best golfers in the world to Limerick, including Tiger Woods, and many celebrities including Hollywood stars Michael Douglas, Samuel L Jackson and Hugh Grant. It has raised huge sums for local charities, and is one of the biggest earning charity golf events in the world.
“A huge factor is the time JP is here in Ireland – that is the big sticking point,” one of the committee involved in the organisation of the pro-am confided. “He puts his heart and soul into this event, he is the driving force behind the pro-am, and it takes so much organising. The general public don’t realise the amount of work behind the scenes he puts in,”
Under tax residency laws Mr McManus – who will celebrate his 64th birthday in March and runs his hugely successful business from Geneva – must spend less than 183 days in Ireland.
It is now very doubtful that the event will be held again. After it first first staged in 1995, it took place every five years thereafter and hopes had been high that the next tournament would take place in 2015.
The Leader piece went on to quote McManus. who was asked in an interview with the paper's editor, Alan English, in 2012 in the 2015 event would go ahead.
“It takes an enormous amount of time and now we have less time than we had a few years ago – the rules have changed,” [McManus] said. “It used to be nights in the country – now it’s days. So if I come in at seven o’clock and go out at seven in the morning that counts as two days here.
"Once you’re here over midnight, it counts as two days. Before, it was one. They have to do whatever they have to do, but I don’t know how much they achieve by it.”