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€3.3 billion Covid-19 windfall for Irish billionaires underlines need for a progressive wealth tax and economic justice - Pearse Doherty TD

25 January, 2021 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Pearse DohertySinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has commented on today’s report published by Oxfam, The Inequality Virus, which has found that Irish billionaires have increased their collective wealth by €3.3 billion since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Teachta Doherty has called on the government to deliver economic justice through strengthening workers’ rights and the introduction of a progressive wealth tax.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“Today’s report published by Oxfam, The Inequality Virus, exposes the myth that ‘we are all in this together’ during this pandemic.

“We are not.

“The report finds that, since the global pandemic began, billionaire wealth has increased by $3.9 trillion.

“Closer to home, Irish billionaires have enjoyed a Covid-19 dividend of €3.3 billion.

“At the same time, frontline workers have found themselves overworked, underpaid or laid off.

“The UN Secretary General has said that this pandemic is like an X-Ray, exposing the fractures in our society and economy.

“In Ireland, it has further underscored a broken housing market, a low-pay economy and under provision of public services.

“While so many are struggling, the richest are flourishing.

“The economic impact of the virus has been disproportionately felt by those on low pay, by women and the young.

“The pandemic has laid bare the market’s inability to reflect the true value of essential services and workers.

“Oxfam’s report also reveals the opportunity it has presented the mega-rich, an opportunity that has been exploited.

“That billionaires have enjoyed a €3 billion windfall on the back of suffering and insecurity is a grotesque indictment of our economy.

“While billionaires have recovered and prospered since the pandemic began, Oxfam warn of a lost decade for workers and families.

“It is the job of government to deliver economic justice.

“That begins by strengthening the rights of workers, securing their right to collective bargaining and a living wage.

“As Irish billionaires enjoy a Covid dividend of over €3 billion, now is the time to introduce a progressive wealth tax on net assets above €1 million.

“Workers and families have borne the brunt of this pandemic. Now the richest must pay their fair share.”

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