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Wealth inequality

Ireland's top two billionaires have more wealth than bottom half of population, report says

Oxfam found that the richest 1% of people in Ireland hold 35.4% of the country’s financial wealth.

IRELAND’S TWO RICHEST billionaires now have more combined wealth that the bottom half of the country’s population, a new report from Oxfam has found. 

Oxfam’s annual Inequality Report, which derives its calculations from the Forbes rich list, found that the richest 1% of people in Ireland hold 35.4% of the country’s financial wealth. 

Oxfam Ireland has called on the Government to introduce an “extreme wealth tax”, which it says could generate up to €9.2 billion a year. 

Bríd McGrath from Oxfam Ireland said that now is the time for states to reassert themselves, “including the Irish state”. 

“We are calling on the Government to properly tax wealth and close the loopholes for tax avoidance,” she said. 

McGrath said that she does not believes that “one cent” of taxpayers money should go to corporations “who abuse their dominant position, don’t pay their workers a living wage, who refuse to reduce carbon emissions”. 

“Those companies should be outside the fold when it comes to grant aid, tax breaks and any other reliefs at budget time,”she added. 

Oxfam Ireland is also calling on the Government to be a “voice” for the Global South, by supporting UN work to clear targets on wealth inequality reduction, and by supporting a proposal the American economist Joseph Stiglitz that every nation should aim for a situation where the bottom 40% of the population have roughly the same income as the richest 10%, which is known as the Palma of 1. 

The report predicted that if the current trajectory of wealth inequality continues in the world, we will have the first trillionaire within a decade, and poverty “won’t be eradicated for another 229 years”. 

Oxfam found that the world’s five richest men have seen their fortunes more than double since 2020, which over the same time period five billion people have become poorer. 

oxfam From the Oxfam inequality report.

Oxfam published its report today, to coincide with the gathering of billionaires in the Swiss resort of Davos for a summit. 

The report stipulates that the top five billionaires in the world have seen their wealth shoot up from $405 billion to $869 billion since 2020. 

The Oxfam International Interim Executive Director Amitabh Behar said that we are witnessing “the beginnings of a decade of division, with billions of people shouldering the economic shockwaves of the pandemic, inflation and war, while billionaires’ fortunes boom”. 

Behar said that this inequality is “no accident”. 

“The billionaire class is ensuring corporations deliver more wealth to them at the expense of everyone else,” he said. 

The full Oxfam Inequality report is available to read here. 

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