Northern Ireland news

Richest 1% of Irish people own more than a quarter of Republic's wealth

The study reveals the number of Irish people with individual wealth of more than €46.6 million has more than doubled

THE richest one per cent of Irish people have more than a quarter of the Republic's wealth, according to a new report.

The study by Oxfam also reveals that over the past 10 years, the number with individual wealth of more than €46.6 million has more than doubled, from 655 to 1,435.

The anti-poverty charity said for every €93.15 wealth created in the last decade, €31.67 has gone to the richest one per cent.

This means that the richest one per cent in the Republic have gained 70 times more wealth than the bottom 50 per cent in the last 10 years.

Oxfam's 'Survival of the Richest' report is published to coincide with the gathering of world leaders and business elites in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.

The charity is calling for a tax on the Republic's wealth at graduated rates of two, three and five per cent above a threshold of €4.7m, which it said would raise billions annually "with the potential to transform Irish public services".

The charity said there should be an international approach to taxing the super-rich through permanent wealth taxes and temporary windfall taxes, and governments should aim to halve the wealth of, and the number of, billionaires.

Jim Clarken from Oxfam Ireland 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."

The Oxfam's report builds a picture of widening worldwide inequality, after extreme poverty and extreme wealth increased simultaneously over the past two years for the first time in quarter of a century.

Throughout 2021 and 2022, the richest one per cent accrued nearly twice as much "new wealth" - revenue created in the global economy - as the rest of the world combined, Oxfam has said.

This elite group pocketed £21 trillion in new wealth over the last two years, which equates to almost two-thirds of all new revenue.

Both the number and wealth of billionaires doubled over the last decade.

At the same time, at least 1.7 billion workers now live in countries where inflation is outpacing wages, and more than 820 million people - roughly one in 10 people on earth - do not have enough food.

Northern Ireland news