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What will a new Irish government mean for Christian Aid?

16 March 2016 - Sorley McCaughey:

Whatever the final outcome of the ongoing negotiations on forming the next government, for Christian Aid three things are clear.

Tax

One, the issue of tax and Ireland’s role in the global tax architecture is going to remain in the global spotlight.

In the coming months we expect the European Commission to publish its ruling on Ireland’s alleged secret deal with Apple. And throughout the year we will continue to see initiatives emerging from Brussels aimed at addressing corporate tax dodging that may well have implications for Irish tax policy.

It will be important for Christian Aid, because any discussion of the international rules around tax provides us with an opportunity to ensure the concerns of developing countries are represented.

We were very successful in doing that during the 31st Dail, and we hope to be able to do that again in the 32nd Dail.

Climate change

Two, our response to climate change will (I hope) be an unavoidable issue for Irish politicians.

Unfortunately to date, Ireland’s political response to what many describe as the greatest challenge of our time, has been to do the minimum required, and shamefully sometimes to look for permission to do less than the minimum required.  

The ink was not dry on the Paris Climate Agreement of December 2015, when some European leaders including Ireland began resisting efforts in Brussels to raise the EU’s emission reduction ambition to a level in keeping with what the science tells us we need to do.

Christian Aid and others will be working to hold the new government to account, and pushing them to show leadership in taking the decisions to ensure that we are leaving an earth behind that is habitable for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.

There is no time for procrastination or for pleading special status, the science is stark and clear.

Newspaper reports this week highlight that global surface temperatures across land and ocean in February were 1.35 degrees warmer than the average temperature for the month, from the baseline period of 1951-1980.

Identifying allies

And three, it will be hard work to ensure that Christian Aid’s issues find allies in the new Dail and Seanad.

The general election has deprived us of some strong allies and supporters but some old friends survived, and the new faces in the Oireachtas represent new opportunities and new possibilities to push our agenda of fairness justice and equality.

About the author

Sorley McCaughey

Sorley McCaughey is Christian Aid Ireland's Head of Advocacy and Policy.

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