Top 10,000 Irish earners take home €5.6bn in pay

Revenue figures reveal ‘shocking level’ of income inequality, says Sinn Féin

The figures show the bottom 50 per cent of earners  take home 20 per cent of the personal income generated in the economy. Photograph: Getty

The figures show the bottom 50 per cent of earners take home 20 per cent of the personal income generated in the economy. Photograph: Getty

 

The top 10,000 earners in the Republic took home €5.6 billion in income in 2016, according to figures obtained from Revenue by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty.

Mr Doherty said this means that on average 10,000 people took home more than half a million euro each in gross pay.

The figures, which show gross income by individual rather than by taxpayer units such as families, reveal that the top 10 per cent of earners in the State take home a third of all income, while the top 1 per cent of earners now take home 11 per cent of income.

Inequality

Conversely the bottom 50 per cent of earners only take home 20 per cent of the personal income generated in the economy.

Mr Doherty said the figures reveal a “shocking level” of income inequality at the heart of Irish society.

“It is clear that income inequality across the State is rife, and for lower and middle income families, living in Ireland simply isn’t affordable,” he said.

“Irish families face some of the highest living costs in the developed world. The cost of living day-to-day, burdened with extortionate childcare fees and rent, is too high for far too many people,” he said.

“This is made worse by the fact that Ireland still ranks among the worst OECD countries for rates of low pay,” he said.

Sinn Féin is calling for an increase in the minimum wage of almost €1 per hour, raising it to €10.50 per hour.

While average gross incomes for the wider Irish population have doubled over the past three decades, average incomes for the top 10 per cent more than tripled.

While earning rates at the top end of the spectrum are lower than those seen in the US and the UK, they are higher than in other European states.