Mick Wallace RT @ICCLtweet: Stunning exchange in the Dail last week: @wallacemick asks if any State bodies inspect Direct Provision centres. @CharlieFla
Mick Wallace "Sometimes there are warning signs & there's the unthinkable nightmare of seeing your loved one decline, seeing the… https://t.co/EAHHL1yTyn
Mick Wallace There is almost zero movement on #ClimateAction in Ireland and present policies are making things worse. The Irish… https://t.co/d12CJPJUZ1
Mick Wallace RT @Darrenfrehill: Should our top female athletes have to pay a levy to play their sport? Wexford Youths @KatrinaParrock says funding is t…

councilOn Wednesday, May 29th the Taoiseach reported to the Dail, the outcome of this month's European Council meeting. While responding to the Taoiseach's report, Mick addresses concerns regarding Ireland facilitating tax avoidance for international companies who set up offices here. He also compliments the Tanaiste on his stance on the lifting of the arms embargo to Syria. You can read Mick's contribution below or watch the full debate here.

I am afraid I must disagree with the previous speaker, Deputy Ross. While Ireland might engage in tax competition, it also engages in facilitating tax avoidance on a serious level. Regardless of whether Members like it, Ireland is playing a strong role in a race to the bottom. Do Members wish to see a point at which corporations pay even less than their share and the ordinary citizen is burdened even further in consequence? The findings of Dr. Jim Stewart, professor of finance in Trinity College who is trying to map out shadow banking in Ireland, are interesting. He has stated that many of the companies involved are a way of removing assets or liabilities from a parent company's balance sheet and escaping the regulatory requirements that come with this. He stated that these companies, which are classified as non-trading firms, have a theoretical tax rate of 25%. In reality, they are able to use write-offs in Irish legislation to ensure they make no profits and consequently have no tax liabilities. Overall, Stewart is sceptical about the benefits of shadow banking to Ireland and has stated “As far we’re concerned, we don’t get much out of this”.

I also wish to raise the issue of the lifting of the arms embargo in the context of the summit. I disagree with Fianna Fáil in this regard and agree with the Tánaiste, who deserves credit for the stand he has taken on this matter. The lifting of the arms embargo definitely was a retrograde step and in response to anyone who thinks pouring more arms into Syria's sectarian war will either topple Assad or drive him to the negotiating table, I do not believe that will happen. Instead, it will lead to Russia playing a stronger role and matching any arms the French and British might provide. Moreover, I disagree with anyone who thinks Britain and France actually care about those who are suffering in Syria. I believe both parties are much more interested in using this conflict as a little bit of escapism from the realities of their political problems at home. It should be pointed out that much of the western involvement in the Middle East has helped to destroy secular politics in the region and has unleashed the Shia-Sunni conflict that is tearing it apart. If one considers what the West has been up to in the region for the past ten or 20 years, secular politics has been damaged dramatically by western involvement and what remains is really a Shia-Sunni civil war throughout the region. As for the idea that Shia and Sunni representatives should be sitting down to have a chat at the table, it simply is not like that, as for these people to accept one another would involve denying their faith and it is deeply rooted in Islam. However, the destruction of secular politics by the western powers has caused much of the havoc now being witnessed.

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Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.

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