Wednesday 17 October 2018

Mirror on the wall tells us we are the fairest of them all

An opinion poll on fairness and equality puts Ireland ahead of European peers. This augurs well for society and politics writes Dan O'Brien

On a wide range of issues, Irish respondents were more positive than those of any other countries. Stock Image
On a wide range of issues, Irish respondents were more positive than those of any other countries. Stock Image
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

When it comes to how incomes are spread between the richest and poorest, Ireland is almost identical to Sweden, a famously egalitarian country. That is what new figures from the European Union's statistics agency showed last week.

The richest fifth in Ireland took home 4.4 times more money than the poorest fifth in 2016. Incomes were considerably less equal on average across the bloc's 28 members. Ireland was much closer to the most equal country - the Czech Republic, where the richest made 3.5 times more than the poorest - than it was to the least equal country. Rich Bulgarians make eight times more than poor Bulgarians.

The tax and welfare system is one of the main reasons why income distribution in Ireland is unusually equal compared to the rest of the world (Europe is the most equal continent by a distance).

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