Ireland – One in four families living on less than €20k

(INFOWARS IRELAND)   More than a quarter of families live on less than €20,000, a new report revealed today.

Experts warned the striking statistic, based on pre-downturn figures, had worsened as recession-hit households saw their incomes plunge.

The study, published by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and equality think-tank TASC, found while 5% of families lived on earnings exceeding €134,000, more than half got by on €40,000 or less.

Report author Professor Terry McDonough said incomes had fallen further since the data was gathered in 2006.

“We’re not looking at the consequences of the downturn, what we’re looking at is really the best picture,” he said.

“Anything that’s happened subsequently will have tended to make things worse.”

The Hierarchy of Earnings, Attributes and Privilege (HEAP) report shows the average income of those with only primary education or no formal education was just €13,489, compared with an average of €45,707 for those with a university degree.

The study, launched in Dublin with an accompanying wall chart, also identifies the role of social welfare payments in reducing poverty levels from 22% in 2001 to 16.5% in 2007.

Prof McDonough urged the Government not to increase inequality when imposing social welfare cuts and tax adjustments.

“I think the best place for the chart would be on the Minister for Finance’s door when he’s thinking about who should be coming first when it comes to resolving a very real budgetary crisis,” he added.

ICTU general secretary David Begg said Congress would be drawing on the report for its pre-Budget submission to the Government.

“It shines a torch on the nature of our society in a way that hasn’t really been done comprehensively before,” he said.

“This fits and is located very firmly in our alternative economic strategy which we have presented to the Government.”

Mr Begg claimed there were completely different sets of values for how the rich and poor were treated.

“There is a huge effort being made to disguise the fact that these differences exist,” he added.

“We’re not all in it together at all.”

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