Tax And The Ex-Taoiseach


Sir - Unless Vincent Browne (December 30th) is trying to be deliberately provocative, the pretexts he offers in mitigation for the current travails of Mr Haughey are baffling and disingenuous.

The issue is hardly whether we venal citizens would all seek to avoid paying tax on very large "gifts" but whether the individual occupying the highest office of the State should flout the law of the land and obstruct the legitimate investigation of a judicial tribunal.

Unless the highest standards of probity and integrity in public life are seen to be maintained and upheld, the political class has no possibility of restoring its severely tarnished reputation. There is already a worrying democratic deficit in this country; the granting of absolution for what Vincent Browne seems to be reclassifying as altogether less serious misdemeanours and omissions will do nothing to reduce public cynicism about transparency and accountability from those entrusted with power. - Yours, etc., Ray McCarthy,

Venetian Hall, Killester, Dublin 5.