Carthy calls for 'rotten offshore system' to be wiped out
Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy has called for the European Parliament to take a strong position on tackling tax avoidance, fraud and financial secrecy when MEPs vote on the final recommendations of the Panama Papers inquiry report tomorrow.
Addressing the plenary this morning in Strasbourg, Carthy said: "It is ironic but not surprising that just as the Panama Papers inquiry committee is finishing its work, we are faced with a new and even bigger offshore leak – the Paradise Papers. We urgently need a new committee to examine the Appleby revelations in this Parliament.
"Let’s remember that there is a grim human cost to this system that allows the ultra-rich to avoid contributing to society in any meaningful way, and which deprives our communities of the public services they need. In Ireland, we have seen eight people die – in the freezing cold, on the streets – in a period of 14 weeks as a result of a homelessness crisis largely caused by a lack of investment in social housing.
"Unfortunately, our governments are not innocent bystanders in the corporate tax avoidance system. In many cases they actively promote it.
"There is a political choice to be made by those in power – shield the financial secrecy of the super-rich, or promote the rights and wellbeing of communities. You can’t do both."
"This Parliament has an important role to play in setting the political agenda. We need to make the strongest possible statement calling for this rotten offshore system to be wiped out when we vote on this report," he said.
Commenting after his speech to the plenary, Carthy added: "Unfortunately our colleagues in the EPP, the political group that Fine Gael is part of, are targeting no less than 38 paragraphs of the report that they want removed, including some of the most progressive content. I genuinely hope that MEPs from across the political spectrum in Ireland will not support efforts to water down the Parliament's position on tackling tax avoidance, fraud and secrecy.
"The Parliament needs to listen to what European citizens are demanding, and support strong positions when it comes to public access to beneficial ownership registers, public and global country-by-country reporting for multinational corporations, and strong rules on regulating the enablers of tax avoidance schemes including lawyers and the Big Four tax advisor firms."