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Saturday afternoon - Tom Johnson Summer School 2013

Posted on June 15, 2013 at 04:58 PM

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This afternoon's panel about 'The Illegitimate Debt'  is also featured in this blog post written by party member Desmond O'Toole.

It is quite a task to plot a path through a wide-ranging discussion which encompassed cancelling the illegitimate debt demanded of the Global South, the burden of bank debt that has hollowed out the finances of the Irish state and the impact of debt on Irish families in local neighbourhoods.

Ably chaired by Declan Meenagh of Irish Labour Youth, Jean Summers (UCD), Emer Costello MEP and Rita Fagan (St Michael's Estate) helped us to trace this path and illuminate the impoverishing reality of unsustainable debt for both citizens and countries. Debt can be both legitimate and illegitimate and how to respond to the demands to repay debt that has arisen from colonialist exploitation or capitalist excess drove a large part of our discussions. In addition, we explored the toxic link between unsustainable debt and corporate tax theft and how this combination profoundly undermines the funding of public services and the development of a sustainable and balanced economy.

Contributors noted the hypocrisy displayed by wealthy Irish rock stars who campaign for debt forgiveness for the Global South while using aggressive tax planning to reduce their own contribution to the public finances that they argue should fund such debt alleviation. Illegitimate debt and tax theft by corporations and wealthy individuals are two sides of the same coin; a coin minted in exploitation and greed.

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