Roisin Shortall TD

The findings of an Oxfam report into global inequality presents an opportunity for a renewed debate on the need for a wealth tax in Ireland, according to Social Democrats finance spokesperson Róisín Shortall.

“Oxfam’s report, which has been released as political leaders gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, makes for stark reading. It reveals that the richest 1 per cent in the country hold more than a third of Ireland’s financial wealth. In addition, it found that the country’s two richest Irish billionaires have more wealth than the bottom half of the population.

“In the last Budget, the Government’s tax package widened the inequality gap in Ireland as cuts went to higher earners as well as those on middle incomes.

“In our alternative budget, the Social Democrats proposed a third rate of income tax of 43 per cent on individual earnings above €100,000. We also called for a net tax on ‘excess’ or ‘super wealth’, with fair exemptions including the value of a family home up to €2 million. Such a tax would be levied at 0.5 per cent on assets over €1 million, or 1 per cent on assets over €2 million.

“We are long overdue an honest conversation about the merits of introducing a fair and workable wealth tax in Ireland. We often hear the case against wealth taxes in terms of their feasibility. However, it is mostly just a question of the political will not being there.

“We know that more equal societies are more successful with greater solidarity, a better quality of life and lower crime levels. Given the scale of inequality today – as laid bare in Oxfam’s report – it is only sensible to have a proper debate about wealth taxation if we are to create a fairer society.”

January 15, 2024

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