Liz Nelson ■ Public Services and Economic Injustice in Tax Break Ireland


The reality of ill-health leaves little time to dwell on rights and justice, or on what might turn out to be empty promises – as the Irish Examiner reports. And while the experience of living with ill health might be said to be something of a leveller, it is not. There is no ‘level playing field’ if health services are a postcode lottery,  or at the mercy of political short-termism, or market forces.

Shortcomings in the quality of healthcare in Ireland are likely to be directly connected to the economic model which successive governments in Ireland have adopted. i.e. of low corporate tax rates and a belief in “trickle down” economics. While this has attracted business to Ireland, taxation revenue has often ended up elsewhere. J. Kenneth Galbraith explains it well: “It is the ‘horse and sparrow’ theory of income distribution and its taxation. If you feed a horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.”

Tax avoidance often leads to the impoverishment of public services – our health care, our children’s education, our justice system – and undermines a fair society.

Ireland’s tax payers must be left wondering about the treatment of those with cervical cancer, in this particular case,  compared with the treatment in terms of favourable tax rates given to the tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

This coverage provides a stark illustration of corporate power and a dark tale of inhumanity in Ireland where this week there was “public outrage over the treatment of two very vulnerable groups — women with cancer having to fight for justice and humility in the courts, and distressed mortgage holders offloaded to a corporate vulture fund.” You can read the full article here of how the Irish government doles out special tax treatment for private wealth on the one hand, and on the other, social injustice for its ordinary tax payers.

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