The Irish Times
23rd August 2004

Cardinal attacks scandal of tax evasion
by Eithne Donnellan

Systematic tax evasion by some of the States' wealthiest citizens has been condemned by Cardinal Cahal Daly as "one of the great scandals in modern Ireland".

In his new book being launched in Belfast today and in Dublin tomorrow, the cardinal also has harsh words for banks and financial institutions.

" To add to the shame, " he said, " banks and financial institutions have been complicit in facilitating this scandalous practice. "

He said tax evasion " results in an unfair distribution of tax across the population " and it contributed to a widening of the gap between rich and poor in this country and in the less developed countries of the planet. " In the end it is the poor, at home and overseas, who pay the price. "

He said that in 1967 Pope Paul VI declared it unacceptable for wealthy citizens to transfer a considerable part of their wealth abroad " purely for their own advantage without care for the manifest wrong they inflict on their own country by doing this ". His words had extraordinary relevance to modern Ireland, he said.

In his book, The Minding of Planet Earth, the cardinal referred to the problems of alcohol abuse and obesity in Western society and said " It should put us all to shame " that these were among our serious problems - " all of them problems of superfluity; while a major part of the world's population suffers from malnutrition, disease, lack of educational opportunity - all of them linked to poverty ".

" Moral and spiritual conversion and change of lifestyle are demanded from all of us," he advised. Young people should be encouraged to spend time in underdeveloped countries, he said.


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