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Gap between rich and poor broadened since 1987

The last 24 years – which saw Fianna Fáil in power for 21 – saw the top 10% of earners gain most, a new report says.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

THE WEALTHIEST ten per cent of Irish people have seen their riches grow by a greater factor than anyone else’s since 1987, according to a new report published by Social Justice Ireland today.

The report, intended to coincide with the general election, noted that the top 10 per cent of Irish households account for almost a quarter of the state’s total disposable income – a greater proportion than it had done in 1987.

By comparison, the report suggested, the poorest tenth of households received just 2.28% of disposable income – ten times less than the amount enjoyed by better-off families.

The distribution of Ireland’s riches was so unequal, the report added, that the share enjoyed by the richer families – 24.48 per cent – was almost as much as the amount earned by the poorest 50 per cent of homes.

Social Justice Ireland argued that the country’s current economic policies – in particular, the four year plan and the EU-IMF bailout – were “continuing the process of supporting the better-off and seem set to produce a dramatic increase in poverty and social exclusion”.

There are 620,000 people in Ireland at risk of poverty – almost one in every seven people – and this number would be more than three times higher if social welfare payments were cut or removed altogether.

The publication will come as a sting to Fianna Fáil’s election hopes; the party has been in power, under four Taoisigh, for all but three years of the 24 years covered by the survey.

Read the Social Justice Ireland report in full >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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