Press statement: Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes
Anti Property Tax Campaigners occupy headquarters of International financial company.
Sending out message of "It's not our debt, and we're not paying".
Members of the Campaign Against Home And Water Taxes ( CAHWT) are currently occupying the headquarters of Price Waterhouse Coopers in Dublin's Docklands.
This is the first occupation of this type held by the campaign, and represents a significant escalation of our protest activity . It is designed to draw attention to the financial institutions that have avoided the effects of the economic crisis while ordinary workers and their families are made to suffer.
According to Claire Casey of East Wall CAHWT : "For too long those who helped cause the economic crisis have gotten off too lightly. They have maintained their wealth, continue to make profits and have borne no responsibility for their actions. Meanwhile, we have all been hammered, ordinary workers and their families have endured pay cuts, job losses, increasing living costs and more and more unfair taxes. Today we want to get our message out loud and clear - this is not our debt, and we're not paying".
Claire Casey went on to state: " PriceWaterhouseCoopers are one of the leading companies in an industry that designs and markets aggressive tax avoidance schemes. They create sham transactions, phoney losses and phantom assets to enable their clients to dodge taxes."
As an example of questionable financial behaviour she highlighted the well known details of Google Ireland , who with a turnover of €47.44 billion between 2005 and 2011 paid a mere €69.91 million in tax , a rate of just 0.14% .
Claire continued : " This is just one example. Ireland is internationally famous for it's facilitation of massive tax avoidance and it's poor financial regulations. At the same time draconian legislation is being introduced to allow the Government direct access to citizens wages, benefits and possibly even our private bank accounts. This is utterly unacceptable."
Todays occupation takes place to coincide with the Irish Business Enterprise Confederation (IBEC) C.E.O Conference 2013 , taking place in the National Convention Centre , Spencer Dock. PWC are amongst the sponsors of this event. Amongst the 400 high profile guests at this event are José Manuel Barrosa , Enda Kenny and Eamonn Gilmore . The presence of the Taoiseach and Government ministers at such a gathering is a clear indication of what we can expect in the coming years - more "business friendly" government policy , light touch 'enforcement' on the financial services and a continuance of the behaviour that put Ireland at the centre of the global economic collapse. Unfortunately , to allow this to happen it is necessary for the austerity agenda - an attack on the living standards of Irish Citizens- to continue . IBEC are not only in favour of a 'property tax' on the family home , they want it to be twice what is already proposed.
According to Bernie Hughes of Finglas CAHWT : "This IBEC conference will help set an agenda of protecting the wealthy and making everyone else pay . IBEC are a ruthless , greed driven organisation , that promote an anti worker agenda . They have consistently called for cuts in workers' pay and pensions. They even called for Property tax to be doubled , so that home owners could contribute more and business interests would pay less ".
Bernie Hughes continued: " The so called Property Tax is a tax on the family home , and along with the planned water charges and the just announced broadcasting charge represents a further squeezing of every last cent possible from working people . We should not be forced to pay for the sins of others , and we have to take a strong stance to oppose the attacks by Fine Gael and Labour , who are are simply following Fianna Fails lead and letting business interests make the decisions".
Price Waterhouse Cooper are a very well connected company , working extensively for both the private sector and the Irish Government. They acted as tax advisors to the disgraced Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) on the disastrous bottle glass site deal . Former Chairman of the DDDA , Donal O'Connor , was also on the board of Anglo Irish Bank, and was a partner in PWC. Incredibly , they were paid almost 5 million euro for advising the government on the bank guarantee , while having previously acted as bank auditors , and their assesment of Anglo Irish was incredibly inaccurate . They also compiled a report on water metering for Minister Phil Hogan .
The occupation of Price Waterhouse Cooper by CAHWT activists represents an escalation of protest action by the campaign , which is expected to increase in the coming months in opposition to the property tax. Financial institutions played a core role in the economic crisis and cannot be ignored by a campaign made up of those who are refusing to be made pay for their actions.