Wednesday 7 December 2016

Pressure on politicians to publish tax details

Published 19/04/2016 | 02:30

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is the only other political leader who is willing to release his tax returns. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is the only other political leader who is willing to release his tax returns. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan has promised to publish his tax returns in the wake of the 'Panama Papers' scandal.

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The move will put pressure on all party leaders to release their tax details after details of the off-shore bank account arrangements were made public.

A Green Party spokesman said Mr Ryan is happy to follow the example set by British leaders and publish his tax returns.

"In the documents available to hand, however, both his and his wife's taxes are displayed. He will seek his own returns to publish," he said.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is the only other political leader who is willing to release his tax returns.

Mr Adams' commitment follows the publication of Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness's tax returns.

In Britain, there have been calls for more transparency on tax paid by politicians after Prime Minister David Cameron's father's name emerged in the leak of documents from an off-shore legal firm.

A spokesman for acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who received the backing of Mr Cameron before the General Election, said the Fine Gael leader has no additional income beyond his salary and has no reason to make a tax return.

He also said Mr Kenny made a statutory declaration to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) declaring he is tax compliant.

The three Social Democrat leaders, Stephen Donnelly, Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, who campaign for transparency in public office, also refused to release tax returns. A spokeswoman said tax declarations the three submitted with Sipo should "suffice" the public.

Labour leader Joan Burton and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin did not respond to requests for comment.

Transparency International Ireland chief executive John Devitt welcomed the publication of any financial details but said a tax declaration on its own will not address all conflicts of interest. He said politicians should register details of all financial liabilities and mortgages.

Irish Independent

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