The budget had two very clear overseas elements.  The first was the cut of €25m from the overseas development aid (ODA) package (now €536.4m).  This reduces Irish government development aid to 0.52% of GNP, still quite a bit short of the 0.7% commitment given to the UN  to be achieved by 2012.  While there is no doubt that there are priorities at home, Ireland still has the luxury of a welfare safety net, and what is largely being experienced is an increase in relative poverty as opposed to the absolute poverty of the billion or so people in developing countries who are barely surviving.  It seems to me that the €25m could have been offset against the second element – the domicile levy of €200,000 to be applied to all Irish nationals and persons, regardless of where they live, who earn more than €1 million in income worldwide and who have capital located in Ireland (houses, land, horses, etc) worth more than €5 million.  This starts to close off the loophole of people who had the canny knack of being in two places simultaneously – Ireland and elsewhere – and availed of such supposed inbetweenness to avoid paying tax on income and assets.  That would have been a useful way of redistributing wealth that would not have penalised the very poorest in the world.

Rob Kitchin

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