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TASC report finds Ireland is most unequal country in EU - Carthy

16 February, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy today said that the publication of the TASC report, Cherishing All Equally: Economic Inequality in Ireland, should serve as a wake up call to Labour & Fine Gael members who had yet to realise that their parties policies are resulting in increased hardship on Irish families.

Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Economic & Monetary Affairs committee, made his comments after Paul Sweeney chairman of the TASC Economists Network findings showed that Ireland is now the most unequal country in the EU when it comes to how the economy distributes income, before taxes and social welfare payments are included.

Carthy said:

“This alarming pronouncement that Ireland is the most unequal country in the EU, shows once again that successive Irish Governments have chosen to protect the interests of vested financial elites over that of the ordinary citizen.

“It is quite clear that from this and other recent Reports that the level of inequality in Ireland is unsuitable.

"In my view, the evaluation of Paul Sweeny proves that lower and middle income families have been paying a disproportionate price for the austerity agenda that has been relentlessly pursued by successive Irish governments.

"The concentration of income in fewer hands gives the wealthy more power to lobby for tax cuts that will disproportionately benefit them.

“The priority must be to start to undo the damage done to the economy and to wider society by poor political choices championed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour. The deficit could have been reduced in a fair and sustainable manner. Instead those on low to middle incomes and our public services were targeted, through a relentless austerity policy and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to emigrate”.

Carthy further stated

“It is imperative that this matter is addressed. As the findings of TASC indicated, Income inequality not only leads to poverty and social exclusion but it also lowers demand in the economy in a downward spiral of lost spending,”

"Government representatives should treat the findings of this Report as a wake-up call as it clearly demonstrates the real impact that political and economic choices have had on the lives of our citizens.

“What is needed is a fair and sustainable recovery rather than unequal and temporary recovery where inequalities become more entrenched.”

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