Category: Enough! Campaign
People Before Profit TD to challenge Clearing House Group at Finance Committee over role in shaping government corporate tax policy and tax haven status
In a statement today, Richard Boyd Barrett, Finance spokesperson for People Before Profit/United Left Alliance, said government denials that Ireland is acting as a tax haven were preposterous, in the aftermath of revelations about Apple’s use of Ireland to reduce its tax obligations to negligible levels.
The People Before Profit TD called for an immediate investigation and Dáil debate on the issue despite Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s claims at the summit of EU leaders in Brussels today, that Ireland’s tax regime is “ very transparent” when it is clear the opposite is the case.
Richard Boyd Barrett said also that he intended to challenge the IFSC Clearing House Group at the Oireachtas Finance Committee this afternoon, over their role in shaping Irish government policy in relation to corporate tax, the Financial Transaction Tax and other tax policies that favour the corporate sector.
The IFSC Clearing House Group is made up of senior civil servants, representatives of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland and representatives of the top banks and financial and legal companies in the state including Bank of Ireland, AIB, Statestreet, Citibank, PWC and others.
Richard Boyd Barrett announces further protests against Sale of Forests at the Dáil next week
Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit TD and organiser of recent demonstrations against the sale of Coillte harvesting rights will attend the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee this afternoon where Impact will be giving evidence on the proposed sale of harvesting rights.
Deputy Boyd Barrett will tell the agriculture committee that all the evidence now points to the fact that the proposed sale of the harvesting rights to Ireland’s public forests is “utterly senseless” and makes no environmental or economic sense.
Deputy Boyd Barrett will also announce plans for further protests including a demonstration next week at the Dáil and a series of local protests across the country where activists and local communities will walk in their local woods to show opposition to the proposed privatisation.
The first protest will take place at the Dáil on Tuesday 21st May at 5.30pm and June 9th will see a series of walks in woods taking place right across the country.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “With every submission by stakeholder groups and other concerned citizens on the issue of the proposed sale of Coillte harvesting rights, the evidence is piling up that the proposed privatisation is utterly senseless.”
“It makes absolutely no environmental or economic sense and represents a betrayal of our national heritage”
“It is clear that the campaign of public opposition and protests, against the proposed sale are having an impact and have rattled the government. However we still do not have a definitive statement from Minister Howlin or Minister Coveney that the privatisation plans have been abandoned”.
“There should be no complacency until we get such a statement so protests will continue and next week’s protest is vitally important to keep piling pressure on the government”.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit Alliance & Minister Pat Rabbitte row in debate over ‘Great Gas Giveaway’ during Dail discussion on Report on Offshore Gas and Oil Exploration today (Tues, May 14th 2013).
In a statement Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for People Before Profit/ULA and one of the organisers of last weekend’s 4000 strong protest in Avondale, Co Wicklow, against the government’s planned sale of the harvesting rights of Ireland’s public forest estate has said “the government are crumbling in the face of people power and public outrage.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett’s statement came in the aftermath of today’s comments by Minister for Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabitte, that the sale of Coilte’s harvesting rights was looking increasingly “unlikely.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that the protests against the privatisation of Coilte would continue until there was a clear government commitment that they had abandoned their plan to sell Coilte’s harvesting rights and that “rumours, whispers, and comments by individual ministers were not a statement of government policy and that clarity and a radical change of government forestry policy was needed.”
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “It is no coincidence that Pat Rabitte made these comments just two days after 4000 people demonstrated to express their outrage at the plan to sell off the harvesting rights to our public forest estate. This is proof that protest and people power is working – it is proof that it is possible to challenge the juggernaut of this government’s disastrous austerity policy.”
Over 4,000 people turned out for the “A Walk in the Woods” today (Sunday April 28th) in Avondale Forest Park, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow. The event featured songs, poems and readings from prominent musicians, actors and poets including: Christy Moore, Paddy Casey, Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack, Dave Lordan (Award winning poet), Brid Ni Neachtain (Actor), Denis Conway (Actor & Director, Oroboros Theatre Co.), Landless (Folk Musicians), Larry Beau (Singer), Madu (North African Singers) & more.
Speaking at the protest Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “We are getting an enormous response from across the country for this event and expect a large turn-out for our “walk in the woods.” People are utterly shocked when they hear of the government’s intention to sell-off this priceless piece our natural heritage to pay off the gambling debts of bankers. The purpose of this event is to urgently ring the alarm bells and alert the wider public of the imminent threat to our public forest estate – an absolutely precious cultural, historical and economic asset. We are delighted that so many, prominent musicians, actors and poets are taking part to highlight that this proposal to privatise our public forests is not just an act of economic theft but it is also a shameful betrayal of our culture, our heritage and our history. It is beyond belief that we are being forced to sell our forests to pay the debts of bankers and bankers may end up owing our forests. It is an act of cultural and economic sabotage and must be stopped.”
Andrew St Ledger, PRO The Woodland League said, Irelands Public forests belong to the grandchildren of Ireland and their grand-children, they should be managed wisely using a new community oriented model to ensure a future for the generations to come. This underhanded short-sighted plan to sell Public Forests must be stopped.
The “Walk in the Woods” is also supported by: Sebastian Barry (Author), Stephen Rea, Catherine Murphy TD, Clare Daly TD, Joan Collins TD, John Halligan TD, Thomas Pringle TD, Paul Murphy MEP, Martin Ferris TD, Patrick Nulty TD, People Before Profit Alliance, Keep Ireland Open, Friends of the Earth, Unite Trade Union, SIPTU, United Left, Socialist Workers Party, Sinn Fein.
(Photos: nmcgabhann/wbyl- (c) All rights reserved copyright)
Urgent call on public to mobilise to Avondale as prominent artists and activists join forces to oppose public forest sale
In a statement the Natural Resources Protection Alliance & The Woodland League have appealed to the public to join the “Walk in the Woods” protest and concert in Avondale Forest Park this Sunday April 28th to oppose the sale of the harvesting rights to Ireland’s publicly owned forest estate under the EU-IMF ‘Troika programme.
“The Walk in the Woods” will feature songs, poems and readings from Christy Moore, Paddy Casey, Jeremy irons, Sinead Cusack, Denis Conway, Brid Ní Neachtain, Larry Beau, Madu, Landless & more. The event will assemble at 1pm in the car-park of Avondale House.
In their statement, the organisers said that it was deeply ironic that a charity was this weekend organising communities across the country to plant one million trees, while at the same time the government was moving to sell-off tens of millions of trees to pay-off the gambling debts of private financial institutions.
The organisers also strongly criticised the government for breaking pre-election promises that they would oppose moves to privatise Coillte and retain the national forest estate in public hands. They pointed to a statement made in 2011 by the then shadow Agriculture spokesperson for Fine Gael , Andrew Doyle, now chair of the Oireachtas committee on Agriculture, where he said:
“Coillte must stay; forestry is at the heart of Ireland’s response to climate change”.
“Our vital national resources are not up for sale. National resources like forestry, agriculture and marine resources are held in trust for all the people of Ireland. Ministers are stewards of these resources and must return them to the people with benefits after their term in office. That includes the forests of Ireland”
Richard Boyd Barrett TD is meeting the Troika between 3 and 4pm this afternoon along with a delegation from the Technical Group. He will be questioning them on a number of controversial key areas within the so called stability programme, particularly the current conflicts around Croke Park, the property tax and the timetables for the sale of state assets including Coillte and the introduction of water charges.
“Richard Boyd Barrett TD said there are whole numbers of areas within the Troika’s austerity programme which are now facing serious resistance from ordinary citizens of this country leaving questions over gross unfairness of these measures but also as to whether the government and the Troika are determined to go ahead with these measures and whether they are open to discussions on alternatives”
“The representatives of public sector workers and others have made it clear that there are other alternatives to further attacks on low and middle income workers such as increased corporation taxes, stimulus measures and higher taxes on the wealthy to deal with Ireland’s economic crisis”.
“I will be challenging the Troika as to whether they are willing to consider such alternatives, given recent statements by senior figures in the IMF that austerity is not working.
I will also be making specific points about cruel property tax and a fairer system of tax that targets high earners in society.
In relation to the sale of state assets and in particular plans to sell the harvesting rights of Coillte, I will be asking the Troika whether the government is required to go ahead with this commitment or whether it has the option not to privatise our forests, if as the government has stated recently they believe this is not good value for the Irish tax-payer. I will be pointing out to them that there is fierce opposition to this disgraceful proposal to sell the harvesting rights to Irish forests.
Given Eamon Gilmore’s recent announcement that the plan to impose water charges is being pushed back from January I will be asking if the Troika has agreed to this and what new timetable is for the introduction of water charges.
Finally, I doubt we will get straight answers from the troika but it will be interesting to see whether they are singing off the same hymn sheet as the government”.