[Sinn Fein]

15 December 1999

Public Accounts Committee Report: ``Banks must cough up'' - O Caoláin

The Report of the Public Accounts Committee into the DIRT scandal has been welcomed by Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin. He urged the immediate implementation of its recommendations by the Government.

Deputy O Caoláin said:

``This report exposes how the financial institutions and the wealthy in our society conspired to deprive the public purse of badly needed revenue at a time when the poor, the sick and the old were being hit by savage government cutbacks. The report is a damning indictment both of the banks and of the state agencies, especially the Department of Finance, the Central Bank, and the Revenue Commissioners.

``The recommendation to carry out a full and retrospective audit of DIRT liability in the financial insitutions, paid for by those institutions themselves, is very welcome. The Government should implement this without delay. The banks and other financial institutions must cough up. I urge the inclusion of these proposals in full in the forthcoming Finance Bill.

``The proposal for a levy on financial institutions to go towards a new Foundation for Investing in Communities is progressive and echoes the policy advocated by Sinn Fein for many years.

``It is time that the financial institutions who have abused their powerful positions for decades are brought to heel.''

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