Archbishop calls on G8 leaders to help end world hunger

Archbishop of York highlights drain on developing countries from corporate tax avoidance

A police boat patrols water close to the Kellyhevlin Hotel which is being used as the G8 media centre close to the G8 venue of Lough Erne yesterday. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The G8 leaders meeting this week in Co Fermanagh can help end world hunger by preventing multinational companies avoid tax, the Archbishop of York has said.

The Most Reverend John Sentamu called on the G8 to close tax loopholes because "too many unscrupulous businesses" are robbing people in third world countries of education, health, food, and employment.

The drain on developing countries from corporate tax avoidance outweighs the support they receive through international development aid, Dr Sentamu told the congregation at St Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

He also called for greater transparency in international political decision making. “Decisions that affect millions of people are made behind closed doors without the participation of the people affected by them,” he said.

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Land in poorer countries should be used for agriculture instead of fuel, he continued.

“The poorest farmers are losing their land to huge corporations”. He added: “If we pursue our global leaders to make this happen and if they do there really will be enough food for everyone.”

Dr Sentamu also suggested the introduction of a special shopping card for people in industrialised countries which would automatically donate a percentage of any supermarket food transaction to food aid programs in the developing world. He said the proceeds would go towards a “global monetary food insurance”, to ensure that “nobody in our global village goes hungry”.

The G8 annual meeting of global leaders will convene at a resort on

the shores of Lough Erne today. The summit will last for two days and the issues of tax and transparency are reportedly high on the agenda.

Anti-G8 protests took place in Belfast throughout the weekend and further protests are expected in Enniskillen today, less than 10 km from the where the meeting will take place. Organisers expect about 3,000 demonstrators to turn up, an ambitious figure considering the Belfast event attracted approximately 1,500 protesters.

Some £50 million has been spent on security ahead of the meeting. An extra 3,600 police officers have been drafted into the North from Britain while a total of about 8,000 police officers will be on summit duty.

An 11km security fence has been erected around the Lough Erne resort and no fly zones are also in place for the summit. Some 900 gardaí have been deployed around the Border for the event

Protesters have set up camp at Broadmeadow green in the town but by yesterday evening numbers were very thin on the ground, with about five tents and less than a dozen demonstrators.

“There’s supposed to be other groups coming along, but it’s so hard to tell” one protester said, adding that he “expected there to be more here by now.”

Campaign groups and left-wing political parties are expected to transport the bulk of the protesters to the town today on buses from Belfast, Derry and various cities in the Republic.

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin is an Irish Times journalist