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Stop bashing Ireland as a tax dodge: Ryanair CEO

Ireland has been "unfairly singled out" as a tax haven for corporations, Dublin-based Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said Monday on CNBC. "I wish we were, but we're not," he said.

As one of Ireland's wealthiest businessmen, O'Leary also described as "egregious" personal tax rates there. "The top tax rate ... is about 58 percent but you get there on $25,000."

But corporate tax rates are much lower in Ireland than in the United States.

The rate companies pay there is 12.5 percent, with no loopholes, he noted. "Most companies are paying high single-digit [effective] rates of tax."

Because of that, O'Leary said in a "Squawk Box" interview, "[Ireland] has been very attractive to forward inward investment, particularly for U.S. companies."

A year ago, Apple came under fire on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers saying the company kept billions of dollars in profits in Irish subsidiaries and paid little or no taxes to any government.

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"We're not some tax free country," O'Leary said. "We're not the Cayman Islands. We're not some kind of off-shore, zero tax place."

But he did admit: "Corporation tax rates are relatively low by European standards."

"Everything is low compared to the French rates of tax," he said. "That's why the French economy doesn't work particularly well."

O'Leary's comments on taxes Monday came after Ryanair—the European budget airline giant—posted its first fall in full-year net profit in five years.

Read MoreRyanair posts first profit fall in 5 years

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—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Reuters contributed to this report.

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