News Irish News

Thursday 22 March 2018

Number of €1m earners almost halves to 796 as all groups hit hard

ine Kerr Political Correspondent

THE number of people earning more than €1m has almost halved in just two years.

The Irish Independent has learned it is down from 1,447 in 2008 to just 796 this year.

According to figures from the Revenue Commissioners, of those 796 millionaires, 188 will earn more than €2m in 2010.

Property tycoons and businessmen such as Sean Quinn, JP McManus and Dermot Desmond have consistently featured in the country's "rich list" during the boom years.

But in the case of Mr Quinn, his fortune has plummeted from €3.3bn at his peak to an estimated €1.68bn today.

The overall reduction in those on high incomes has been dramatic, an analysis of earnings since 2007 shows.

Those earning between €500,000 and €1m have fallen from 3,946 to 2,522 between 2008 and 2010, while those on between €200,000 and €500,000 have fallen from 23,962 to 18,321.

The figures reveal that the biggest percentage reduction in income affected those on between €30,000 and €40,000.

The number of households in this bracket fell by 7.3pc between 2007 and 2010.

The numbers in every single income bracket have fallen since the economic crisis hit. This is due to a mixture of pay cuts and record levels of unemployment.


Public sector employees have lost up to 14pc of their salary following income and pension levies. Those in the private sector have also taken big cuts.

There will be a further drop in income next year when a new minimum wage comes into operation. The Budget has cut the rate by €1 per hour for all new workers.

According to the Central Statistics Office, the numbers in employment fell by 280,000 from 2007, whereas the number of income earners fell by 148,000. The 132,000 difference is likely to concern households where a job has been lost.

The Revenue figures concern "tax units" rather than "taxpayers". A tax unit could be a single earner, a two-income couple or a one-income couple.

The Labour Party's Joan Burton said one in four tax units (572,963) was earning less in the entire year of 2010 than the total pay cut of €14,000 taken by the Taoiseach in the Budget.

One in five (413,287) was earning less than the total cut of €10,000 taken by ministers.

The income declines were, on average, greater in the numbers of lower paid who earn up to €50,000 and make up 84pc of all tax units.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, in response to written questions from Ms Burton, said he could not provide a breakdown of incomes exceeding €2m because the Revenue Commissioners had an obligation to observe confidentiality in relation to the tax affairs of individuals and small groups of taxpayers.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News