Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Committee on Budgetary Oversight
Fiscal Assessment Report: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council
Do those who accuse us of being an international tax haven at least have a fair argument? Oxfam, Christian Aid and many countries have said that Ireland is a tax haven. I know it does not fit the technical definition of tax haven but nobody fits that definition. When the Government argues that Ireland is not a tax haven because it does not fit the definition, it is meaningless. The world and its mother believes we are Europe's tax haven and Oxfam, Christian Aid and others believe the same. Do they at least have an argument in saying we are a tax haven? The council has recognised our vulnerability to what it terms "unreliable" revenue but this is unreliable because the move to deal with corporation tax avoidance could close that revenue.
If we wanted a more sustainable economy, we would welcome the move to make the corporations pay more tax and have a minimum effective rate across Europe or globally. Ultimately, it would put us in a more sustainable and less risky position. Is that not at least a fair argument?
It is rarely acknowledged that profits have gone through the roof in this country over the past ten years. The rise in profits has massively outstripped any rise in wages for workers. I was just looking at the documents from the Department of Finance that nobody reads, apart from the witnesses perhaps.