"Panama Leaks must be Catalyst to delivering Tax Justice" - Carthy
Sinn Féin Midlands North West MEP, Matt Carthy, has said that the colossal leak of more than 11.5 million financial and legal records, known as the Panama Papers, must be used as an opportunity to bring those who continue to engage in deceitful and destructive tax practices to justice.
Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament's Economic & Monetary Affairs committee stated:
"The revelation of these files raises fundamental questions about the ethics of tax havens and the role of many who champion austerity for ordinary families in their promotion. The culpability goes beyond those who avail of havens and includes those who turn a blind eye or who provide tacit approval.
"For the past year I have been proactively involved in the ongoing EU parliament's special tax inquiry committee (TAXE) which has had the stated aim of seeking to bring transparency and accountability to European and International Taxation systems. I have been dismayed by the serious obstruction of TAXE's work by the EU Commission, corporations and national governments all of which have refused to provide the necessary access to documentation. This ideological opposition to certain elites paying their fair share of tax is symptomatic of the mind-set that has allowed these rich and powerful world leaders to also avoid paying their share of tax.
"The more cynical amongst us, will say that it's nothing new but scandal after scandal and an abject lack of leadership, serves only to entrench the existing sense of distrust, dismay and exasperation amongst ordinary citizens.
"The Panama Papers leaked this week expose the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders, their relatives and their associates. As austerity measures are being forced upon countries, damaging economies and crippling families, these so called leaders are avoiding paying the very taxes needed to provide essential public services.
"In Ireland, where our health care system is in crisis, where homelessness levels are at an unprecedented levels and where the extreme inequalities between the richest in society and the rest of the population are stark, we have suffered as a result of an austerity agenda that has been pursued by a domestic and EU political consensus that has been happy to ignore wholescale tax avoidance by large corporations and wealthy individuals.
"Tax avoidance is an immense problem and it adversely impacts on people right across the global economy. The perpetrators need to be reprimanded and the inherent injustice at the heart of global taxation needs to be tackled.
"Sinn Féin in Europe and in Ireland will continue to lead the campaign for tax transparency, and to press for the urgent reforms that are critically required".