Fresh call for wealth tax to ease economic havoc of pandemic
Ireland’s 300 richest individuals own a combined €93.7bn — an average of more than €300m each.
A renewed demand has been made for the introduction of a wealth tax after evidence that the pandemic has served to further boost the richest in our society.
A wealth tax was demanded in a pre-Budget submission last week by the People Before Profit/Solidarity group of TDs.
But now the Sunday Times Rich List 2020 has shown that many tycoons have seen their net worth significantly increase in the past year while hundreds of thousands suffer from the economic havoc wreaked by Covid.
Cork TD Mick Barry has repeated the call for a wealth tax after the Rich List showed that 300 individuals own a combined €93.7bn.
Their combined wealth is up by 7.3pc on last year, despite heavy stock market falls and difficult trading conditions.
“Covid pushed many of the 300 up the list,” Mr Barry said. “Industries such as tech and pharma have boomed during the crisis.”
Mr Barry argued that the unprecedented State spending indicated in Budget 2021 should be funded by a Covid-19 wealth tax.
In the Dáil's Budget debate last week, he pointed out that a 10pc levy on the profits of the pharmaceutical companies and private hospitals would raise €2bn.
And a 1.5pc levy on the wealth of the richest 5pc of the population (excluding their first €1m in wealth) would raise €3.8bn, he said.
The Cork North Central TD declared: “The wealth that is owned by Ireland's super rich continues to grow, even in a global pandemic.
“The crisis is placing incredible financial costs on our society, as shown in last week’s Budget. The case for a Covid-19 wealth tax is powerful and I think that public support for such a measure will only grow in the months ahead.”
The Irish Rich List was headed by the Weston family, who own €11.8bn. They were among 16 billionaires on the list this year.
“To get into the richest 300 list this year you needed to own €65m,” Mr Barry said.