A recent Oxfam report has shown how the top 1 percent of billionaires are gaining more of the world’s resources as 62 billionaires now own more than 3.6 billion people.
Ireland is doing its very best to help this trend towards grater inequality by creating a tax haven for its own 1% billionaire class.
It looks after native Irish billionaires through a tax exile rule. If they state that they are outside the country for more than 183 days, they can claim that they are not domiciled in Ireland for tax purposes.
There are 3,393 such tax cases and one of the most prominent is Denis O Brien. Despite much talk of everyone sharing the pain after the economic crash, his wealth has increased dramatically from €2 billion to €6 billion between 2009 and 2015.
Despite sending his children to school in Ireland, he is able to claim a tax exile status.
In Britain, there is a similar rule but the tax fugitives must pay a minimum fee of £90,000 for the privilege of not being taxed.
In Ireland they are supposed to pay a levy of €200,000 if they reach a certain earning. But there are so many loopholes that in 2013 only 13 individuals paid the levy.
If the tax exiles had to pay the equivalent of the British fee of £90,000, it would bring in €305 million ayear. That way there would be no need for water charges.
Better still, if we abolished the tax exile status altogether we would probably be able to eliminate both the property tax and water charges.
But this government will not do this because it prefers to look after Denis O'Brien and the millionaire class.