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Ó Caoláin - Tax debacle highlights FF leadership deficit

30 September, 2003

Commenting on the ongoing revelations of tax evasion by Fianna Fáil elected representatives Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said:

"The debacle over the tax affairs of Deputy Michael Collins demonstrates that the Taoiseach's promise to stamp out corruption had about as much impact as being struck over the head with a sock full of feathers.

"The admitted failure of both the Taoiseach and the Chairperson of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party, Seamus Kirk, to find out the detail of Deputy Collins' tax defaulting when they were made aware of it in general terms, clearly highlights a real deficit in the leadership of that party. If they could not deal effectively with this serious issue within their parliamentary party what confidence can people have in their ability to lead and govern in this State?

"If the Taoiseach wishes to rescue what's left of his party's shattered credibility then he must initiate policies that not only effectively combats tax evasion but ensures that the most powerful and wealthy in Irish society pay their fair share. For two terms now this Government has gone out of its way to make sure that the wealthiest in Ireland pay the least in tax. However, not content with being amongst those who most benefit from this Government's taxation policies the same people are to the fore in evading and avoiding paying tax at all.

"It is also worth noting that with the publication of the Governments legislative programme for this Dáil term that a crucial piece of legislation has been omitted since last term. Ironically there is no mention of the Proceeds of Corruption Bill which was meant to tackle white collar crime in both public and private life." ENDS

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