Seanad debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

3:30 pm

Photo of Paul GavanPaul Gavan (Sinn Fein)

We need to talk about a wealth tax. I am delighted to hear Senator Higgins endorse that once more.

Some of the statistics relating to welfare are quite stark. Hopefully, the Minister of State will be familiar with these. If he is not, I do not blame him because there are many statistics flying around. The top 10% in this country own 54% of wealth. In other words, 10% of the people in the State own over half the wealth. The next 40% own 44.8%, and this is very much concentrated towards the higher end of that bracket. Interestingly, the bottom 70% only own 15.4% of the wealth. I like to give the source of these figures. Those I have just quoted were supplied by academics, Dr. Micheál Collins and Dr. Aidan Regan - I met the latter only two weeks ago - from TASC and the ECB. Those statistics are stark. As was pointed out earlier, no one can deny that the very wealthiest in society are getting incredibly more wealthy and the gap between rich and poor is increasing year by year. None of Fine Gael's budgets, not only as part of this Government but also as part of that which preceded it, have done anything in that regard. We know that because the gap keeps increasing.

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