Trocaire has called for the introduction of a tax on financial institutions that would generate hundreds of billions of Euro every year to eradicate global poverty.

“At the outset the Millennium Development Goals recognised that aid alone would not suffice to achieve the goals. This tax would not cost ordinary citizens a penny, but would be applied to big banks that move large amounts of currency around on money markets,” Trocaire director Justin Kilcullen said.

“Experts predict that a tiny tax of just 0.05 per cent would generate over $400 billion each year – three times the current total aid levels,” he said. “The global financial crisis has hit all countries. People all over the world have watched from the sidelines as governments bailed out banks and financial institutions, using taxpayers’ money. Now it’s time for the banks to contribute to the cost of helping to lift millions out of poverty,” Mr Kilcullen added.

Mr Kilcullen is travelling to New York this weekend, to attend the UN Summit of world leaders to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on September 20. The eight development goals agreed by 192 countries in 2000 promised to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day, and set out targets in areas including mother and child health, education, equality for men and women and sustainable development to be reached by 2015.

Trocaire has warned that without a radical shift in direction by governments the goals won’t be achieved. “Governments – including Ireland – have a major opportunity in New York to outline a vision that can transform the lives of millions of poor people by agreeing to a few concrete decisions,” Mr Kilcullen added.

“We have to keep our commitments on aid spending. Ireland should legislate to protect our target of spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on overseas aid by 2015. We have to deal with the neglect of women and their rights across the world as women are at the heart of sustainable development. And we have to come up with new additional ways to finance development.  A tiny tax on banks can be easily delivered and will have an enormous impact. This tax is the right thing to do.”