Press Releases

Press Release: Oxfam and partners mounting response in Turkiye and Syria

PRESS RELEASE – 6 February 2023

EARTHQUAKE: Oxfam and partners mounting response in Turkiye and Syria amidst destruction of life and property

Oxfam teams in Turkiye and Syria are working with partners to urgently assess the fastest, most effective response to help affected people in the aftermath of Monday’s devastating earthquake – the biggest in Turkiye since 1938.

An Oxfam colleague in Turkiye – a mountaineer – travelled today into south-west Turkey, part of an official search-and-rescue mission mounted by Turkish authorities who called on civilian mountaineers to help.

Meryem Aslan, Oxfam spokesperson in Ankara, said: “The scale of destruction is vast. Following two big earthquakes and over 60 aftershocks, people are still in shock and fear, they don't even have time to mourn the lost ones."

She managed to reach family and friends in affected areas by phone – thankful they were alive and well – but many buildings and homes are now rubble, she said.

Oxfam KEDV, the Oxfam affiliate in Turkiye, has partnerships with around 80 women’s cooperatives in ten Turkish provinces most affected by the quake and is currently assessing response plans with them given the scale of devastation. An Oxfam team is travelling to affected areas tomorrow (Tuesday) to conduct assessments, as part of the official National Disaster Response Platform.

"It is a double tragedy for survivors having to cope too with the cold. It is horrifying to contemplate how people will even be able to cope, given that some areas are even now in snow,” said Aslan.

"Reaching survivors will be extremely challenging with many roads and highways damaged or blocked, and over vast distances. Even as Turkiye has a lot of expertise in dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes, the scale of this one is daunting. The death toll is growing. The number of survivors who will be left with absolutely nothing due to the damage is likely to be huge”, she said.

“Oxfam, together with partners, is gathering urgent information to assess the scale of devastation and what people most urgently need,” Aslan said. “Typically, Oxfam and partners would look to provide protection, water and sanitation, shelter and food support and in the longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction. We are now assessing the type of immediate and longer-term support that is needed.

“We know that all countries affected by this awful earthquake, and the survivors of it, will need a lot of help and support – not only in the immediate short-term, but in the days and weeks and months ahead.”

In Syria, the cities of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Idlib have been badly hit by both the earthquake and continuous, severe aftershocks that have driven people into wintery streets fearing further collapses of buildings. Dozens of buildings have been badly damaged across Aleppo and 46 are reported to have collapsed. As nightly temperatures are expected to drop to zero degrees Celsius, shelter, food, water, fuel and medical care for those who have been injured are desperately needed.

For Syria, this earthquake hits at a time when the humanitarian need in the country is at its highest.

Over 15 million are in desperate need humanitarian assistance and support.
Oxfam Ireland is appealing to the public to support their Turkey/Syria Earthquake Appeal, donating online at


Oxfam has spokespeople available on the ground.
For more details and to arrange interviews, contact / 083 198 1869

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Ireland’s two richest people have more wealth – €15 billion – than half of the Irish population who have €10.3 billion.

Today (Jan 16th) Oxfam publishes a report that shows for the first time in a quarter of a century the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting even poorer. Staggering inequalities are highlighted in “Survival of the Richest”, as elites gather in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.

Alarmingly, the report captures the acceleration in inequitable wealth distribution. Globally, over the past two years, the richest 1% have acquired nearly twice as much wealth as the rest of humanity — the 99% put together. This comes on top of a decade of unprecedented gains for the super-rich. (See Figure 1 in notes.)

In Ireland:

  • The number of Irish people with individual wealth of over €46.6 million (US$50 million) has more than doubled between 2012 and 2022, rising from 655 to 1,435 people.
  • For every €93.15 (US$100) of wealth created in the last ten years, €31.67 (US$34) has gone to the richest 1% and less than €0.5 to the bottom 50%. This means that the richest 1% have gained 70 times more wealth than the bottom 50% in the last 10 years.
  • The richest 1% of Irish people have 27% of wealth and the bottom own just 1.1%

Oxfam Ireland’s CEO, Jim Clarken, said: “This rising wealth at the top and rising poverty for the rest are two sides of the same coin, proof that our economic system is functioning exactly how the rich and powerful designed it to.

“It was 10 years ago when we first sounded the alarm about extreme inequality at the World Economic Forum and yet since then the world’s billionaires have almost doubled their wealth. As crisis after crisis hits the poorest people hardest, it’s time for Governments, including Ireland’s, to tax the rich. The very existence of billionaires while out-of-control inequality rises, is damning proof of policy failure.”

A wealth tax on elite Irish wealth at graduated rates of 2%, 3% and 5% above a high threshold of €4.7 million would raise €8.2 billion annually, with the potential to transform Irish public services in health, housing and education while also delivering on our international and climate commitments.

Internationally the money is even more urgently needed by ordinary people. Entire countries are facing bankruptcy, with the poorest countries now spending four times more repaying debts to rich creditors than on healthcare. Three-quarters of the world’s governments are planning austerity-driven public sector spending cuts — including on healthcare and education — of $7.8 trillion over the next five years.

Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s richest men, paid a ‘true tax rate’ of just 1% from 2014 to 2018. Aber Christine, a market trader in Northern Uganda who sells rice, flour and soya, makes $80 a month in profit. She pays a tax rate of 40%.

Where this has led is to the World Bank announcing that the world has almost certainly lost its goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. “Global progress in reducing extreme poverty has grinded to a halt” amid what the Bank says was likely to be the largest increase in global inequality and the largest setback in global poverty since WW2. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $2.15 (€2.30) per day.

Oxfam believes an international approach to taxing the super-rich is needed and we are calling for governments to introduce both permanent wealth taxes and temporary windfall taxes.

We want an end to crisis profiteering. Research shows that this is responsible for between 50%-80% of cost-of-living increases in the US and Europe.

We are calling for a tax on the wealth of the richest 1% percent at rates high enough to redistribute these resources. Oxfam believes that, as a starting point, the world should aim to halve the wealth and number of billionaires between now and 2030 and ultimately abolish this extreme inequality.

At home, Oxfam Ireland is specifically calling on the Irish Government to apply a wealth tax on elite Irish wealth at graduated rates of 2%, 3% and 5% above a high threshold of €4.7 million. This would raise €8.2 billion annually.


Full report available here. Methodology available on request.

Contact: Clare Cronin, External Communication Manager: +353871952551

Notes to the Editor:

Wealth calculations

Oxfam’s calculations on wealth and inequality are based on the most up-to-date and comprehensive data sources available.

By combining data from Forbes, Credit Suisse and Wealth-X, a private company producing wealth data for market analysis, Oxfam has been able to assess wealth and inequality per country in much greater detail, to the top 1% and 5% and to count numbers of high-net worth individuals.

In Ireland Oxfam Found:

  • 8 billionaries
  • 1,435 individuals with €47 million
  • 20,575 individuals worth over €4.7 million.

While Ireland’s number of billionaires has dropped from nine to eight, the numbers of individuals in each of the other two categories above has more than doubled in the last decade, by 119% and 118%. All of these figures are adjusted for inflation.

By using Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Reports and data, Oxfam has found:

  • The top 1% of Irish society owns 27% of wealth - (€232 billion)
  • The top 10% owns 64% of wealth (€547 billion).
  • The bottom 50% of Irish society owns only 1% of wealth (€10.3 billion).
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Did Santa Slip-Up? Never mind donate unwanted Christmas gifts to Oxfam

We all get gifts we wouldn’t have chosen ourselves. Whether it's an item you already own, could never use, or doesn’t suit you and it can be hard to know what to do as we all try to cut back on waste. But Oxfam Ireland’s network of shops welcomes your donations year-round and your unwanted gift could be a lifesaving gift for someone, somewhere.

Unpopular or duplicate Christmas gifts can be resold at one of Oxfam Ireland’s 47 stores to help raise vital funds for their life-saving work worldwide in 2022. So, they are calling on people to donate their unwanted Christmas gifts when their shops reopen on December 27th.

Items accepted for donation include clothes, beauty products, books, gadgets and jewellery, as well as bags and accessories, CDs, DVDs, homewares, soft furnishings, furniture and even wedding dresses. The sale of these items will raise funds for Oxfam’s work worldwide, including the ongoing emergency response to the crisis in Yemen, and the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa. 

Trevor Anderson, Oxfam Ireland's Director of Trading, says: “We are appealing to the generosity of the public this Christmas to donate their unwanted gifts. Maybe Santa didn’t bring exactly what was on your Christmas list but it only takes a moment to drop your unwanted gift into one of our stores and it could change a life forever.

“We’re asking you to think twice before you push that unwanted gift to the back of the wardrobe. These unwanted gifts are at their best when fresh and in the original wrapping. No matter how small, your donation will help us to continue our vital work into 2022.”

Oxfam Ireland reopens their 47 stores across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, December 27th. You can find a full list of stores here



CONTACT: Alice Dawson Lyons | | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Notes to Editors:

Find out more about Oxfam Ireland on their website,, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Oxfam Ireland Reaction to EU Finance Meeting


8 November 2022

Today, EU finance ministers agreed on the reform of the mandate of the Code of Conduct Group, the body within the Council of the EU that assesses harmful tax regimes and is responsible for the EU tax haven list. This reform updated the definition of harmful tax regimes in EU countries. No progress was made on updating the criteria for the EU tax haven list.

The EU has repeatedly criticised Ireland’s use of harmful tax regimes that allow multinational companies in Ireland avoid tax. In 2020, the European Commission identified Ireland as one of six EU member states that have tax rules or systems that facilitate aggressive tax avoidance.

Reacting to the news, Michael McCarthy Flynn, Oxfam Ireland Head of Policy and Advocacy, said;

“This reform is a slight improvement on the definition of harmful corporate tax regimes. It is broader and will close an important loophole used by companies to dodge paying tax. Yet, the definition remains vague, and only applies in the EU and to new national tax regimes. The process still lacks transparency.

“EU countries must follow up with more stringent guidelines and include all harmful tax regimes, such as patent boxes. Without that, the reform risks becoming another toothless attempt to clamp down on tax havens in Europe.

“We are still waiting on the promise to reform the criteria governing the EU tax haven list.”


Notes to editors:

  • In 2019 the European Parliament called on the Commission to regard at least five Member States - Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands - as EU tax havens.
  • In 2020, the European Commission identified six member states - Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands - as having tax rules or systems that facilitate aggressive tax planning.
  • Oxfam showed that for three consecutive years, five EU member states, Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands, had economic indicators typical of tax havens (e.g. high levels of Foreign Direct Investment, intellectual property payments, interests, dividends).
  • In July 2020, the European Commission said it would reform the mandate of the Code of Conduct Group (CoCG) - including the definition of harmful tax regimes and the criteria governing the EU tax havens list. Today, EU countries reached an agreement on the definition which was blocked by Hungary and Estonia last December. No progress has been made on the reform to the criteria of the EU tax havens list.
  • The reform:
    • Introduces a broader definition of harmful tax practices as it includes the screening of all harmful tax regimes used by companies to avoid taxes in the EU. Until now, countries could bypass this screening if they set out rules allowing all companies to benefit from tax advantages rather than only including specific sectors;
    • Only applies to general regimes adopted or modified after 2023; and
    • Gives the European Commission the possibility to address requests on harmful tax regimes to EU countries. 
  • Oxfam has consistently criticised the Code of Conduct Group for the weak and unfair criteria used to assess harmful tax regimes in the EU and in blacklisted countries, and for the lack of transparency in the screening process. We call for a stronger definition and assessment of harmful tax regimes and for more transparency and accountability of the group. Read our 2019 briefing note, Off the Hook and our tax briefing to the French presidency of the EU.  Similar recommendations were put forward in a report by the European Parliament in October 2021.
  • Oxfam showed that for three consecutive years, five EU countries (Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands) had economic indicators typical of tax havens (e.g. high levels of Foreign Direct Investment, intellectual property payments, interests, dividends).
  • Aggressive corporate tax planning in the EU amounts to 50 - 190 billion euros according to EU studies. A recent study by UNU-WIDER estimated that 1 trillion US dollars (40 percent of global corporate profits) was shifted to tax havens in 2019.

Contact information: Clare Cronin, Oxfam Ireland, 353+87+1952551

At Oxfam, we care about your privacy. If you would like to unsubscribe or correct your data, please reply to this email and let us know. Learn more about your data protection rights.

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A billionaire emits a million times more greenhouse gases than the average person

Ahead of COP27, Oxfam calls for ambitious and transparent climate action from big business and investors

The investments of just 125 billionaires emit 393 million tonnes of CO2e each year – the equivalent of France – at an individual annual average that is a million times higher than someone in the bottom 90 percent of humanity.

Carbon Billionaires: The investment emissions of the world’s richest people, is a report published by Oxfam today based on a detailed analysis of the investments of 125 of the richest billionaires in some of the world's biggest corporates and the carbon emissions of these investments. These billionaires have a collective $2.4 trillion stake in 183 companies.

The report finds that these billionaires’ investments give an annual average of 3m tonnes of CO2e per person, which is a million times higher than 2.76 tonnes of CO2e which is the average for those living in the bottom 90 percent.

The actual figure is likely to be higher still, as published carbon emissions by corporates have been shown to systematically underestimate the true level of carbon impact, and billionaires and corporates who do not publicly reveal their emissions, so could not be included in the research, are likely to be those with a high climate impact.

“These few billionaires together have ‘investment emissions’ that equal the carbon footprints of entire countries like France, Egypt or Argentina,” said Nafkote Dabi, Climate Change Lead at Oxfam. “The major and growing responsibility of wealthy people for overall emissions is rarely discussed or considered in climate policy making. This has to change. These billionaire investors at the top of the corporate pyramid have huge responsibility for driving climate breakdown. They have escaped accountability for too long. 

“Emissions from billionaire lifestyles, their private jets and yachts are thousands of times the average person, which is already completely unacceptable. But if we look at emissions from their investments, then their carbon emissions are over a million times higher.”

Contrary to average people, studies show the world's wealthiest individuals' investments account for up to 70 percent of their emissions. Oxfam has used public data to calculate the "investment emissions" of billionaires with over 10 percent stakes in a corporation, by allocating them a share of the reported emissions of the corporates in which they are invested in proportion to their stake.

The study also found billionaires had an average of 14 percent of their investments in polluting industries such as energy and materials like cement. This is twice the average for investments in the Standard and Poor 500. Only one billionaire in the sample had investments in a renewable energy company. 

Jim Clarken, CEO of Oxfam Ireland, said: “With our planet in crisis, no one should be profiting from pollution. COP27 is an opportunity to expose and challenge the role that big business and their rich investors are playing in driving the global climate crisis.

“Billionaire investments shape our future economy – but they also shape our future as a planet. By choosing to back high carbon infrastructure, billionaires are locking in high emissions for decades to come. Whereas our study found that if the billionaires sampled moved their investments to a fund with stronger environmental and social standards, it could reduce the intensity of their emissions by up to four times.

“Governments, including Ireland’s, have a key role to play in demanding change by publishing emission figures for the richest people, regulating investors and corporates to slash carbon emissions and taxing wealth and polluting investments.”

Currently there is no regulatory mechanism to hold private sector investments in Ireland accountable for their climate obligations.  Last month, three French NGOs, including Oxfam France, took the first step towards an unprecedented climate litigation case - the first in the world to target a commercial bank, BNP Paribas, for its high-risk activities in the oil and gas sector. Oxfam Ireland has called for similar corporate accountability legislation to be brought forward in Ireland.

Oxfam has estimated that a wealth tax on the world’s super-rich could raise $1.4 trillion a year, vital resources that could help developing countries – those worst hit by the climate crisis – to adapt, address loss and damage and carry out a just transition to renewable energy. According to the UNEP adaptation costs for developing countries could rise to $300 billion per year by 2030. Africa alone will require $600 billion between 2020 to 2030.

At home, Oxfam Ireland is calling for a wealth tax of 1.5% on wealth over €5 million and 2% above net-wealth of €50 million, which would generate €5 billion – revenue that could address national issues and allow us to uphold our international commitments, including on tackling the climate crisis. In addition to a wealth tax, Oxfam Ireland proposes a broad windfall tax on the excess profits of companies in all sectors of the economy, not just the energy sector.

The report says that many corporations are off track in setting their climate transition plans, including hiding behind unrealistic and unreliable decarbonisation plans with the promise of attaining net zero targets only by 2050. Fewer than one in three of the 183 corporates reviewed by Oxfam are working with the Science Based Targets Initiative. Only 16 percent have set net zero targets.

“To meet the global target of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, humanity must significantly reduce carbon emissions, which will necessitate radical changes in how investors and corporations conduct business and public policy,” concluded Dabi.


CONTACT: Alice Dawson Lyons | | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Notes to Editors

  • Download Oxfam’s report “Carbon Billionaires”.
  • Oxfam began with a list of the 220 richest people in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and worked with data provider Exerica to identify a) the percentage ownership these billionaires held in corporations b) the scope 1&2 emissions of these corporations. To calculate the investment portfolios of individual billionaires, we used the analysis by Bloomberg, who provide detailed breakdowns of the sources of billionaire wealth. 
  • There were no Irish billionaires featured in the sample.
  • The estimate on the money that could be raise on wealth tax on millionaires, multi-millionaires and billionaires, is through using data from Wealth X and Forbes.
  • Recent data from Oxfam’s research with the Stockholm Environment Institute shows that the wealthiest 1 percent of humanity are responsible for twice as many emissions as the poorest 50 percent and that by 2030, their carbon footprints are set to be 30 times greater than the level compatible with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
  • The GHS protocol greenhouse accounting standards widely used globally spells out the three categories of gas emissions associated with companies as follows: Scope 1 are direct emissions from the company’s operations. Scope 2 are indirect, where the emissions take place elsewhere. Scope 3 are all other indirect emissions, this includes everything from emissions in the company's supply chains to employee commuting, to the use of the products they sell by consumers.
  • For more on the climate litigation case in France see here
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