Saturday 10 December 2016

As the election looms it's worth looking at the real division - wealth

Published 16/12/2015 | 02:30

David McWilliams with Izzy Matushka, Chair of Trinity Global Development Society, and Annabel O’Rourke, Historical Society Correspondence Secretary, as he is honoured with the Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Discourse through the Arts, in Trinity College Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
David McWilliams with Izzy Matushka, Chair of Trinity Global Development Society, and Annabel O’Rourke, Historical Society Correspondence Secretary, as he is honoured with the Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Discourse through the Arts, in Trinity College Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron

A little while ago, I presented a programme on RTÉ called 'Ireland's Great Wealth Divide'. The aim of the documentary was to highlight the significant and persistent divide in wealth that exists in Ireland. The reason it is an important issue to highlight is that even when the economy recovers, the benefits will not be evenly - or even remotely evenly - spread and this wealth divide has significant, long-term ramifications for the health of the society.

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At the time of screening, there were some people who, like climate change deniers, continued to express the opinion that the wealth divide in Ireland was not a big deal and that it might be overstated.

This is not the case, and in the past few weeks, two other major studies - one by TASC and one by the OECD - have added to the canon of work proving that the divide in wealth in this country is a serious issue and that in the past few years, the divide between the income of those at the very top and those at the bottom has also increased.

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