Irish ‘Panama papers’ could be crucial in rooting out tax avoiders – Doherty
Sinn Féin TD and Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has written to the Revenue Commissioners urging a full investigation into any potential loss to the Irish State revealed by the Panama Papers. Deputy Doherty also called for legislative action on country by country reporting and the creation of a public register of beneficial owners of companies as concrete ways of fighting such avoidance and potential evasion of tax.
The Donegal TD said:
“The leaking of the ‘Panama papers’ has sent ripples through corridors of power throughout the world. The Icelandic Prime Minister is facing calls for his resignation and he is far from the only world leader implicated by this leak, along with thousands of other individuals. The involvement of the Irish Times in the collaborative journalistic work means much of this data is in Ireland.
“I have written today to the Revenue Commissioners urging them to investigate fully any potential Irish angle to this international web of avoidance. There is an overwhelming public interest in making sure the Revenue Commissioners move rapidly to investigate.
“The culture which creates the possibility of these schemes does not come about by accident. Successive Irish governments have stalled or outright blocked moves to change this culture. The mention of Anglo Irish Bank as a recommended bank in the Panama Papers shows how Ireland is a player in the avoidance system, not just a victim.
“Only some months ago in the Finance Bill, a Sinn Féin proposal to introduce country by country reporting was voted down. This measure and the creation of a public register of beneficial owners of companies are two practical ways this type of avoidance can be tackled.
“While there are international moves in this direction, the Irish government is, as usual, a reluctant passenger rather than a driver of the change.
“Ireland has had a tumultuous history with overseas accounts being used by the elite to defraud the state and we must seize this opportunity to root out those who would continue to engage in this deceitful practice. The public interest demands an immediate Revenue investigation and the bringing into the public light of as much information as possible. The Irish ‘Panama papers’ could be crucial in rooting out tax avoiders if the political will exists.”