Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cardinal: Make wealthy pay

Cardinal Sean Brady has appealed to the Government not to raise indirect taxes on essential goods and services in next week's Budget, claiming such a move would hit low-income earners hardest.

In an important Church-State address in Sligo cathedral yesterday, the Church leader urged ministers to increase income tax on wealth rather than cut health and social expenditure.

Cardinal Brady called the Budget "an immediate test" of the country's willingness to place social solidarity and fairness at the top of the agenda.

"It is accepted that there will be tax increases. The question is: will they be direct or indirect?" he said.

"Indirect taxes sometimes fall most heavily on those with low incomes. So if more indirect taxes are to be introduced they should be put on non-essential goods and services."

Cardinal Brady said that it would take courage for Government ministers to reverse the trend of cuts in income tax.

"Without the courage to make those serious choices to reverse that trend, there will be a reduction in real income of the poorest," he continued.

"There will be cuts in services for those in need of care and support. Unfortunately, that is already happening with some very worthy projects facing closure, postponement or reduction," said Cardinal Brady.

And he asked: "Which is better, health or wealth?"

Cardinal Brady said Irish people survived recessions best when their neighbours rallied around, adding: "It would give immense hope to everybody if those who are better off showed that they are aware that there are others who have a greater moral claim to be insulated from the impact of recession."

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(Source: II)

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