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Irish Tax Injustice can be seen in every A&E corridor and homeless refuge – Tóibín

6 October, 2015

Speaking in the Dáil tonight on the issue of corporation tax evasion, Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Jobs and Innovation Peadar Tóibín TD has spoken out against the utter reluctance of Irish governments, past and present, to instil a sense of fairness to the tax system. The deputy made the point that while large multi-nationals are given the time and space to extricate themselves from the ‘Double Irish’ tax avoidance system, people in Ireland are languishing on trolleys and sleeping on our streets.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Last week, we heard from the CSO and OECD that 17.5% of Irish-born people are living abroad. That’s 1 in 6 people. The figures are worse when you look at the cohort between the ages of 20 and 30 with 1-in-4 having left. Ireland has the worst scores in this regard in the whole of the OECD. 

“On top of the over 300,000 people who have emigrated over the last 6 years, there are another 250,000 unemployed.  80,000 people are registered as employed, but are in activation schemes such as Jobs Bridge. If you include these and the 110,000 part-time workers who are seeking more work, 750,000 people from a population of 4.5 million have been hit hard by the policies of the last two governments. 

“An elderly man contacted me last week, he has just gone blind. He is falling repeatedly and is unable to get back up. He is on a blood thinning tablet and if he cuts himself he is in danger of bleeding heavily. He is seeking a cataract operation and will have to wait 24 months before it will happen.

“Homeless people are dying on the streets. 5,000 mothers, fathers and children are homeless and are living in emergency accommodation, hundreds of thousands are on the housing waiting list and hundreds of thousands of others are to the pin of their collar paying rents that are rising up to 40%.

“Part of the reason for the breakdown in services and cohesion in society is tax injustice.  Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have made tax avoidance the competitive edge of the state for international business. As a result, our reputation internationally is in the mud.  

“This government have been dragged kicking and screaming every inch of the way on this issue. We have seen major U- turns on the Double Irish and on the making of Stateless companies tax resident here. Even when you have acted it has been with reluctance and in a mean spirit. Companies have five years to extricate themselves from the Double Irish. What other group of taxpayers would be given five years period of grace when a tax loophole is closed?

“Nobody will defend Ireland’s right to set its own tax rates more vociferously than Sinn Féin. The record of our MEPs is there for all to see. However, we also passionately believe in tax justice. We believe in creating international competitive advantages in knowledge, communications and transportation. It is time for a mature debate about our corporation regime and reputation.” 

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