Government policy damaging country's poorest, says Healy
THERE IS something profoundly wrong with Government decisions that produce a lopsided distribution of income favouring the richest when Ireland’s poor and those on middle incomes struggle to make ends meet in these extremely difficult times, the director of Social Justice Ireland has said.
Fr Seán Healy said that in Ireland the disposable income of poorest households “fell by 18.6 per cent in a single year, while the income of the richest rose by 4.1 per cent”.
He was referring to 2010 and the findings of the EU-Social Inclusion Living Conditions survey which was conducted that year and published last March. He also explained that disposable income in this context “is the income one has after taxes paid and social welfare received”.
Fr Healy added that “the top 10 per cent of the [Irish] population receives almost 14 times more disposable income than the poorest 10 per cent receive (28.5 per cent compared to 2.06 per cent). It was eight times more in 1980.”
Despite this, he said, “Government policy is continuing to increase the income of the richest 10 per cent of households and widening the gap between these and the rest of society”.
Commenting on Social Justice Ireland’s publication later today of its most recent policy briefing, he said: “There is something profoundly wrong with Government decisions that produce this lopsided distribution of income favouring the richest when Ireland’s poor and middle-income people struggle to make ends meet in these extremely difficult times.”
He said: “The current strategy being pursued by Government is making the situation worse. Its approach to fiscal adjustment is both unjust and unnecessary in a country with one of the lowest total tax-takes in the developed world.
“Decisions have been taken that have seriously damaged Ireland’s most vulnerable people, that place a disproportionate burden on their shoulders and seriously damage the social infrastructure on which they depend.”
Details at socialjustice.ie