View Irish language version of this page JOIN US DONATE

Tomorrow marks 200 days of Workplace Lockdown, and a Widening Gulf Between Rich and Poor

Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has criticised the growing economic inequality taking place in Ireland, creating a two tiered Irish society.

An Teachta Tóibín:

“Covid-19 has highlighted and aggravated income and societal inequality both in our Ireland and globally. According to the CSO and the Central Bank in Q2 last year the lowest 2 deciles suffered the largest reduction in income. The ESRI study, entitled 'A comparative assessment of minimum wage employment in Europe', found that the young, those with low levels of education and migrants were most impacted with job losses across the country. Those who are heavily indebted are also likely to have an increased debt to income ratio due to the Covid Lockdown. The self employed have also be hammered over the last year with many wondering will they be able to reopen. The cost of measures to fight Covid reached €24.6bn in 2020. This was the second largest financial impact per capita in the Euro zone”.

“While bookshops and small businesses have been shut dozens trucks from Amazon and other internet retail giants have been rolling into our ports each week. The combined wealth of the 10 richest men in the world rose by $540 billon during the pandemic. Whilst local shops and retailers have been kept shut by government Lockdowns, Amazon has profited – with CEO Jeff Bezos adding more than $70 billon – bringing his total worth to north of $180 billon. “There is little evidence that this is being factored into Government decisions which created a Lockdown harder and longer than our European counterparts. One of the most significant impacts of the last year will have been the acceleration of the transfer of wealth from the many to very, very few”.

“The income that would have been earned by tens of thousands of small Irish businesses who employ tens of thousands of Irish people has disappeared into the pockets of billionaires not even resident in this country. Despite close to half a million people forced into unemployment, the PUP is set at €36 below the poverty line. The ESRI has published data which indicates minimum wage workers are amongst the hardest hit in the pandemic, due to closures and widespread job losses in retail and hospitality in the past year. This has had a particularly detrimental impact on young people in Ireland aged between 18 and 29 who account for 41% of minimum wage workers. These job losses only serve to exacerbate the financial difficulties of those on the minimum wage in Ireland who are forced to survive a minimum wage far off the living wage or a wage which can begin to cover the astronomical living costs in Ireland.”

“We are living in a two-tier Ireland. An Ireland where government are unaffected by their own policies. An Ireland where the government has refused to pass the Aontú Bill seeking a 25% cut in salaries during the lowdown. A case in point is the contrast between the government’s approach to the Banking Levy and the USC. The USC punished working people and hampered lower-income and minimum wage workers the most. That ‘Temporary measure’ is still in place to fund the government’s policies. The Banking Levy which imposes a negligible €150 million per annum upon banks to try claw back some of the €64 billion bank bailout, is set to expire this year and the Minister hasn’t made up his mind whether to extend it. The difference between the USC and Banking Levy? One impacts the people, the other protected interests. The reality of a two-tier Ireland couldn’t be clearer.”

By Aontú Press | 14 April, 2021

Related Posts

The Irish political system is radically broken

In Ireland the vast majority of elected representatives put a finger in the air to check which way the political wind is blowing. They have one eye on their leaders – seeking brownie points – and another eye keeping their seat safe. If elected reps shut up and do as they’re told, they are promoted; if they stand up for what they believe in, they are demoted. No wonder we have the political class we have. No wonder one point one billion euro is being buried in a hole under the National Children’s Hospital and that Stormont is in stalemate.

Throughout Ireland, many people are now afraid to say what they feel, many are afraid to respectfully engage on a range of different topics. Many feel there is a new censorship and a new political correctness in Ireland, that opposition to the establishment is being deleted.

Respectful opposition is not the enemy. Respectful opposition is a critical element of a functional democracy. Aontú will have the backbone to stand up, without fear, for you.