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Pharmaceutical giant Shire quizzed over tax at Dublin AGM

29 April 2014 - The Irish based pharmaceutical company Shire will today (April 29th) face questions on tax avoidance from shareholders at its AGM in Dublin on Tuesday as part of a project by responsible investment campaign ShareAction and Christian Aid.

The Irish based pharmaceutical company Shire will today (April 29th) face questions on tax avoidance from shareholders at its AGM in Dublin on Tuesday as part of a project by responsible investment campaign ShareAction and Christian Aid.

The firm cut its tax bill by moving its tax base from the UK to Ireland in 2008. It is one of a number of FTSE 100 companies set to face questions at their AGMs about tax planning and transparency.

ShareAction Director of Engagement, Louise Rouse, said, “The negative public, media and political reaction to the steps taken by some companies to reduce tax bills demonstrates the very real risks that aggressive corporate tax planning presents to companies and their investors.

‘Companies must demonstrate that they have adequately assessed and mitigated reputational risks arising from their tax practices.’

Christian Aid has been campaigning since 2008 on how tax dodging harms people living in poverty in developing countries, by depriving them of the funds they need to run vital public services such as schools and hospitals.

Sorley McCaughey, Head of Advocacy and Policy at Christian Aid said: ‘It’s no longer acceptable for big companies to aggressively avoid tax, whether in Ireland or in developing countries, which we estimate lose some $160 billion a year to tax dodging by multinational companies.’

For more information please contact Sorley McCaughey on (353) 087 062 0062 or email smccaughey@christian-aid.org.


Notes to editors:

• ShareAction is a UK-based NGO campaigning for responsible investment by pension funds and other institutional investors. ShareAction demands transparency and accountability to the millions of people with savings managed by investment professionals.

• ShareAction has developed expertise and a strong reputation for shareholder campaigning. ShareAction attends and supports shareholders in attending AGMs to hold company directors to account on a range of responsible investment issues.

• Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

• For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.ie.