Reality of inequality, low pay and poverty camouflaged by wealth accumulation of elite
Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has said the report by Bank of Ireland Private Banking that the 26 counties is now the second richest state in the world masks the reality of income inequality, poverty and the accumulation of wealth by a select few which has benefited from the regressive policies of the current government. Deputy Crowe said the report will be no consolation to those languishing on hospital trolleys throughout the country, or to the parents of children being taught in rat infested schools or to any of the 21% of the population who are at risk of poverty. Deputy Crowe went on call on the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to dissolve the 29th Dáil now and hold an early general election.
He said, "The crucial question is not how wealthy a state is but how equally the wealth of a state is distributed. This state now has levels of inequality second only to the United Sates. The statistics in this report hide the inequality, low pay and poverty experienced by large sections of the population of this state while a favoured elite has been enabled by government policies to accumulate high levels of personal wealth.
"Nearly 14% of households in poverty are now headed by those with a job, a rate that has doubled over the last decade. The richest 20% of the working age population now earns 12 times as much as the poorest - one of the highest levels of market income inequality amongst OECD countries.
"The wealth figures in this report are skewed by grossly inflated house prices which make it impossible for many Irish families to secure housing. The Government failed to do anything to tackle these escalating house prices which have increased at nine times the rate of inflation since 1997. The revelation today that this state is now the second richest state in the world will be no consolation to those languishing on hospital trolleys throughout the country, or to the parents of children being taught in rat infested schools or to any of the 21% of the population who are at risk of poverty.
"The failure to ensure that the benefits of economic growth were shared out fairly has resulted in one of the most unequal societies in the world and according to CSO figures published this week, 21% of the population are at risk of poverty. This Government has facilitated the creation of 30,000 millionaires but have neglected the 65,000 children living in poverty. They should be ashamed to have presided over such wealth while creating and in fact encouraging inequality. The interests of the country and of the people would best be served if Bertie Ahern dissolved the 29th Dáil, ended his reign of inequality and held an early election." ENDS