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.
Government claims that Ireland is not a corporate tax haven are “patent nonsense”, says People Before Profit TD – Dáil investigation needed.
Ireland is a tax haven – facilitating massive tax avoidance, financial speculation and dangerous “shadow banking”.
In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Finance spokesperson for People Before Profit/United Left Alliance has rubbished Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s denials that Ireland is acting as a tax haven to facilitate corporate tax dodging by major multinational companies.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said a Dáil investigation, similar to those which have taken place in the US and Britain, into corporate tax avoidance and the corporate tax regime generally, was urgently required.
Deputy Boyd Barrett’s statement comes in the aftermath of the latest revelations from the US Senate committee that corporate giant Apple has used Ireland as base to avoid paying billions in corporate tax.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that Minister Gilmore’s claim that Ireland’s corporation tax regime was “very transparent” was “utterly ridiculous,” when the revelations about one of the Apple subsidiary’s based in Ireland (ASI) showed the company had only paid 0.2% in tax to the Irish state on €22 billion in profits.
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).
During statements in the Dail as part of Europe Week on Wednesday 8th May 2013, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, argued that “People Power & solidarity” can beat austerity agenda.
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”
In a statement today, Richard Boyd Barrett TD said that he plans to interrogate Enda Kenny during Taoiseach’s questions in the dáil this afternoon, on whether he discussed the most recent evidence that austerity policies have failed during his recent meeting with Christine Lagarde.
According to Eurostat, debt in Eurozone countries has continued to rocket amid unprecedented budget cuts and tax increases. Ireland’s debt levels hit euro-era highs last year, twelve member states recorded a worsening in their government balance relative to GDP in 2012 compared with 2011, and the Eurozone sovereign debt overall rose to the highest percent on record – 90.6 percent of GDP. Meanwhile Eurozone unemployment levels have hit 12 percent – the highest in the history of the Eurozone.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The Taoiseach owes it to the people to answer some basic questions about the economic policies this government has pursued, especially now that those policies are being discredited left and right.”
“First, we had the IMF criticize the Eurozone’s austerity policies for being too aggressive, then we heard George Soros, America’s most successful investor, predicting that even Germany will enter into recession, and now José Manuel Barroso has said that the EU has reached its limit on austerity. The question is whether Mr. Kenny is taking note of these voices and addressing the issue with his EU counterparts.”
“Both the UK and France have lost their AAA credit rating prompting bond fund managers like Bill Gross of Pimco to criticize the EU’s strategy of cutting debt with severe austerity measures and admitting that these measures will stifle recovery.”
“Most of Europe is in a double dip recession – cuts have failed to stimulate growth and analysts say that unless there is radical policy change the EU could slip into a more serious depression.”
“People deserve to know whether the Taoiseach is listening to economists who predict the Eurozone’s recession will last until 2030 if we remain on this policy path, and they deserve to know what he plans to do about it.”
PBPA TD urges public to join protest against home tax and austerity at ECOFIN meeting in Dublin
In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Finance spokesperson for People Before Profit/ULA has said that the announcement made by ECOFIN of an extension to Ireland’s debt maturities on Troika loans was“just another PR stunt that will do nothing whatsoever to reduce the suffering being experienced by ordinary people.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett urged the public to join the protest taking place tomorrow (April 13th) in Dublin organised by the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes at the ECOFIN meeting. The protest will assemble at the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Sq. at 12.30pm and then march to Dublin Castle, where the ECOFIN meeting is being held.
Deputies, Richard Boyd Barrett, Joe Higgins and Joan Collins will address the protest, along with other campaign activists and representatives from anti-austerity groups.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Like the IBRC deal, this deal on Ireland’s debt is just another PR stunt that will do nothing whatsoever to reduce the growing suffering of ordinary families and households in this country.”
“When the government should be looking for a write-down of the banking debt that has been unloaded onto the backs of ordinary people, they are trying to con people into celebrating what is in fact a commitment to pay all these debts in full.”
“This deal will not change the budget arithmetic one iota or the government’s plans to continue with their cruel programme of austerity in the form of home taxes, further income and service cuts and the sell-off of state assets. In fact, this so-called deal is conditional on the government continuing the austerity programme and inflicting further suffering on ordinary people for several years to come.”
“All this spin and PR about so-called debt deals will not fool ordinary people, because they are the ones living with reality of mortgages and bills they can’t pay and then this home tax and more pay cuts coming down on top of them.”
“The government just don’t seem to get it. Hundreds of thousands of families are simply not able to take anymore. They are at their wits end. They can’t pay their mortgages, they have lost their jobs or seen their incomes slashed, and now the government expects them to pay hundreds of euros more in a home tax. And disgracefully, on top of all this, the government are moving on the instructions of the Troika, to facilitate more home re-possessions. This is a recipe for disaster and social chaos.”
“It is now a matter of urgency that people get out on the streets, like the people of Bulgaria, Cyprus and elsewhere have done, and say: enough is enough. We need to get thousands on the streets tomorrow to let the Troika, the government and the banks know that the people are not taking any more of this cruelty and injustice.”
“I would appeal to people, don’t let the government, the Troika and banks grind us into the dirt. Get out on the streets tomorrow and start the fight-back.”
- Croke Park 2 is the worst ever deal negotiated by union leaders.
- It will undermine long standing rights that workers won decades ago.
The original Croke Park deal has another year to run and was not due to expire until June 2014. Yet the union leaders allowed the government to tear it up and put an even worse one in place. The new proposals mean:
Work longer to get rid of more public sector jobs: Those who work 35 hours or less now have to work for 37 hours. Those who work for 35 or more now have to work for 39 hours. These longer hours exclude all rest breaks and are described as only the ‘minimum’.
This means a cut in the hourly rate of pay.
Give your employer a free hour’s overtime: Many lower paid workers depend on overtime to survive. But these proposals will slash their earnings.
Those who already work 39 hours will have to do a free hour for their employer – representing another pay cut of between €13 and €20 for many. Overtime rates are also being cut and will be calculated on the lower hourly pay.
Pay and Allowance Cuts: Inflation is running at 2 % but wages are frozen until 2016. That makes seven years of a pay freeze. The traditional double pay for Sunday is also being cut.
Yet bills for the property tax will arrive in March. Next year, there will be water charges. How are we supposed to pay?
Anyone who earns over €65,000 will have their pay cut by 5.5% . These cuts also apply to people whose allowances bring them over this figure.
Increments are a right not a privilege. Fine Gael back benchers have mounted a campaign against workers who receive an increment for years of service. Now they freeze increments for three or six months.
Give the state 6 days free labour. If you are at the top of your pay scale, you have to give your employer six days free labour. Or else you take another pay cut.
Outsource and Threaten: Managements are using the economic crisis to outsource many public service jobs. Croke Park 2 gives them great scope to do this. They only have to evaluate a ‘service plan’ by inhouse staff. They can then use a number of excuses to allow outsourcing – including cost, quality and services. As long as they have ‘consultation’ – not negotiations – they can push ahead with outsourcing.
We should stick together and resist this rotten government. If they try to cut the wages of public sector workers again, there should be co-ordinated national stoppages. Remember: if we do nothing, they will just keep coming after us. It is time to fight.
Read Factsheet here: PBP Croke Park II factsheet
In the Dáil yesterday, People before Profit/ULA spokesperson, Richard Boyd Barrett challenged TD Enda Kenny during Taoiseach’s questions on the influence of some of the World’s largest financial companies and banks on his department and on government policy.
In a statement today Richard Boyd Barrett TD said he will be questioning the Taoiseach on the Clearing House group.
Speaking ahead of Taoiseach’s questions, Richard Boyd Barrett said Irish state policy is being shaped by financial interests while the state acts as both a lobbyist for these interests inside the EU and constantly introduces legislative changes to facilitate them. Irish policy on financial services is effectively managed by the IFSC Clearing House Group, a body made up of top public servants and representatives of the financial services industry. It includes figures from Bank of America, Citibank, BNY Mellon, State Street and the Irish Bankers Federation.
Richard Boyd Barrett said, ‘The Clearing House group is not a lobbying agency because it is officially embedded in the key Department of the Taoiseach. It helps devise its strategy and advises on tax changes that are incorporated into the annual Finance Bills.
‘In addition, the chair of IFSC Ireland, the former Taoiseach, John Bruton promotes public lobbying for the IFSC. His position is funded by the industry but the IDA provides administrative support.
‘The Irish state’s collusion with financial interest was in evidence when the EU Commission proposed a small financial transactions tax. The Department of Finance convened a meeting of the main corporations operating in the IFSC and asked them to make their case against it.
‘No independent research was commissioned on the impact of such a tax on Ireland. Instead the state used material derived from a survey of financial corporations to come out vehemently against the proposal.
‘This corporate influence on Irish policy is unacceptable. If the EU Financial Transaction Tax was implemented it would have raised MORE money that the property tax.
‘It therefore begs the question; why are the majority of the Irish people paying for an economic crash that was cause by the very financial speculators who dominate the IFSC Clearing House group’