The President of the Workers’ Party, Michael Finnegan, has said that those with wealth must be made to pay their fair share of taxation in this country and those who evade taxation must be severely punished.
Mr. Finnegan said that workers continue to pay a vastly disproportionate amount of income tax in Ireland and are also heavily burdened with indirect taxes. At the same time a small but not insignificant number of people pay little or no tax and are aided in their tax avoidance by the state itself through legal loopholes and other mechanisms.
The Workers Party President said it was totally unacceptable that people in government and in influential state-funded think-tanks such as the ESRI were proposing even further taxation of ordinary workers such as widening the tax net to include low paid workers and social welfare at a time when so many wealthy people pay little or no tax.
“For the working people of Ireland this country is in deep recession and workers have been made to pay on a massive scale for the greed and avarice of those with wealth. But for a sizeable minority there is no recession at all. One need only look at the sales figures for large expensive cars to see that it is business as usual for the speculators, bankers and a whole coterie of wealthy people. Cars models such as Mercedes, BMW and Lexus are rolling out of the showrooms and one of the biggest complaints of those with wealth is the shortage of marina spaces to berth their yachts”, said Mr. Finnegan.
“It is well accepted that Ireland has a two-tier medical system with fast-track high quality care for those with wealth while those without have to put up with waiting lists, bed shortages and a regime of severe cutbacks and hospital closures. However there is a three tier taxation system. Ordinary workers have their income tax deducted at source by the PAYE system while business people can self-assess and have a lengthy appeals system. But for the wealthiest of all, the native and multinational millionaire and billionaire class there is one of the lowest levels of corporation tax in the world at 12.5% which many don’t pay at all or pay only a fraction of. Then there are those who live abroad for tax purposes, or at least claim that they live abroad. For every Ivor Calelly claiming travel expenses from a convenient second address there are a hundred business tycoons with ostentatious holiday homes in the Algarve or Florida who really live and do their business in this country for the purposes of tax avoidance”.
Mr. Finnegan said that the tax system is as unfair to Irish workers now as it was in 1980 when hundreds of thousands of PAYE workers took to the streets under the leadership of the trade union movement. “In those thirty years little or nothing has changed but the rich have continued to get richer while ordinary working people continue to struggle to make ends meet. It is time to consider organising a new nationwide tax campaign under the auspices of the trade unions and to bring people out onto the streets once more. The united voices of the working people of this country – employed or unemployed, must be heard”, he concluded.
Issued 16th July 2010