Panama Papers: Sinn Féin calls for "urgent reforms" and tax transparency

Matt Carthy says politicians have ignored "wholescale tax avoidance by large corporations and wealthy individuals"

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Matt Carthy. Image: RollingNews.ie

Sinn Féin says it is unfair that Europe forced austerity on ordinary Irish people - while turning a blind eye to deceitful tax practices for the super rich.

The party's North West MEP Matt Carthy has been speaking in the wake of revelations in the 'Panama Papers' that several politicians, celebrities and sports stars allegedly exploited secretive offshore tax regimes.

Details of investments were revealed in a massive leak of financial documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm based in Panama.

As Western governments come under pressure to take action following the revelations, Sinn Féin is calling for urgent reforms on tax havens.

MEP Matt Carthy says the Panama leaks must by the catalyst to ensure the wealthy here pay their fair share - so we can end homelessness and improve our health system.

Mr Carthy says it should also be an opportunity to bring those who engage in "deceitful and destructive tax practices" to justice. 

He argues that Irish people have suffered from an "austerity agenda... that has been very happy to ignore whole-scale tax avoidance by large corporations and wealthy individuals":

"Tax avoidance is an immense problem and it adversely impacts on people right across the global economy. The perpetrators need to be reprimanded and the inherent injustice at the heart of global taxation needs to be tackled," he added.

More than 300 companies with links to Ireland were named in the Panama Papers.

In the UK, Jeremy Corbyn has demanded an investigation into the tax affairs of Britons linked to the Panama leaks, including the prime minister's family.

The allegations have seen David Cameron dragged into a row about his late father's business affairs.

According to The Guardian, the papers leaked Mossack Fonseca are said to suggest Mr Cameron's father Ian ran an offshore fund that avoided having to pay tax in Britain by hiring Bahamas residents to sign its paperwork.

Downing Street insists it was a "private matter" whether the Cameron family still had funds in offshore investments.