IN REPLY to recent letters concerning taxation, I believe that if a dispassionate and totally objective observer were to look at what has been happening in this country recently, then that person might reasonably come to the conclusion that for the average citizen to continue to voluntarily pay taxes could be considered immoral.
I make the following points to support this argument.
1. The refusal by judges to take a voluntary pay cut seriously affects their moral authority to pass sentence on anyone, especially in relation to civil offences.
2. The failure of the entire Oireachtas to deal with the issue of their own grotesque expenses is corrupt, and I am not saying here that the expenses themselves were a corruption.
3. The extraordinary salaries of RTE's top earners is little short of extortion. The licence fee needs to be substantially reduced and is, anyway, anachronistic.
4. The apparent inability of this Government to deal with incompetence at the highest levels in the public sector and, worse still, using taxpayers' money to pay these people off, thereby saying, in effect, that gross mismanagement will always be rewarded with enormous pay-offs and pensions. This is vile.
5. The threats of industrial action by public sector union members, especially the so-called 'frontline staff', for an actual pay increase would be farcical if they weren't serious -- caring indeed! Their overpaid leaders should be ashamed.
6. The lenient treatment of tax exiles is plainly wrong.
7. Neither the reckless lending by bank directors nor the complete failure of the regulatory authorities to control this has resulted in a single prosecution.
To continue to voluntarily pay taxes under these circumstances could be considered to give tacit support to the above. These arguments are bolstered by the consideration that many people now paying higher taxes are seeing, or will see in the not too distant future, their own children's lives ravaged by unemployment and emigration.
Finally, may I say that at a minimum, the first and fourth of these points could have been dealt with by constitutional amendment or referendum.
Dr Patrick Finn
Glasnevin, Dublin 9