Ireland second wealthiest nation in the world?

Yep that’s right. Per capita, the Republic is now ahead of the US. It also has 15.2 per cent of its people living in poverty: “Only Italy and the US had a higher poverty rate among 18 industrialised countries surveyed. In addition, Ireland had the second highest rate of illiteracy, after Italy, with 22.6 per cent of the population lacking functional literacy skills”. However, the report also notes:

When all factors were taken into account Ireland rose two places to eighth in the Human Development Index, leapfrogging the US, Japan, Belgium and the Netherlands but falling behind Luxembourg and Switzerland.

  • IJP

    This caps a truly astonishing economic turnaround, for which a lot of people deserve a lot of credit. And let’s have none of this ‘it’s all EU money’ rubbish – it isn’t, EU money even at its maximum amounted to a tenth of the current subvention to NI from London…

    That said, the report does concern some worrying indicators for the future. These would include two main ones, in my view:
    – lack of lifelong learning generally (including a very low literacy rate); and
    – economic divide (this is inevitable in rich wealthy democracies, but it could lead to a crumbling of the political consensus which made Ireland such a good investment/start-up location).

    Hopefully that’ll start a proper debate…

  • Henry94

    Of course they are using the relative poverty model which has its critics. I suggest that the poorest parts of Ireland are a hell of a lot better off than they were in the 80’s when the country would have been considered more equal.

    If we all have nothing then we are equal. The Superdome in New Orleans was a very equal place last week.

  • smcgiff

    ‘with 22.6 per cent’ – that is shocking. But when you consider the amount of education funding per child, the lowest in the OECD, it’s not surprising.

    From a tourist point of view you’d think we still travel by donkey.

    From an economic POV we’re a lot more USA than socialist Bertie would have us to think.

    Neither view/reality is welcome.

  • maca

    The poverty rates & literacy skills are certainly worrying. There’s so many things in Ireland need fixing anyway. Don’t forget our wonderful medical system.

  • Keith M

    Can someone please give me the definition of “poverty” here. For me poverty is not having enough money opr means to feed, clothe, or put a roof over your head. If that applies to 1 in 6 people in this country, then I’m a Chinaman.

  • bootman

    Can someone please give me the definition of “poverty” here. For me poverty is not having enough money opr means to feed, clothe, or put a roof over your head. If that applies to 1 in 6 people in this country, then I’m a Chinaman.

    Posted by: Keith M at September 8, 2005 10:37 AM

    ——————————————————————————–

    or maybe youre just not in touch with reality. Poverty is widespread throughout huge swathes of inner-city, suburban and rural areas.

  • Keith M

    bootman, I asked for an alternative defition of poverty, can you please tell me yours. I live in the inner city, so please don’t try to b*llsh*t me.

  • IJP

    Well said Henry.

    Maybe you and I will find our way into the same party post-unification… 🙂

  • George

    Bootman,
    no doubt that much poverty exists in Ireland but anyone who was brought up in Dublin will tell you things used to be a lot, lot worse. Back in the day you’d be a brave man to walk the O’Connell Street, Parnell, Capel street circuit at night, never mind ambling through Stoney.

    Consistent poverty in Dublin fell from 19 per cent to 3 per cent between 1994 and 2000.

    Keithm is perfectly entitled to ask what the measure for poverty been used here is.

    Is it the number earning less than 50% of the country’s average wage even though that is now over 30k a year?

    It would help if we knew.

    What I found most interesting about the reporting in Ireland on this UN report was the overbearing smugness of it all.

    The British media ran with the news that the report shows African nations make up 12 of the bottom 18 countries, highlighting the levels of suffering they have to endure.

    This is the reality we are not in touch with.

    But slapping ourselves on the back seems to be the way to sell newspapers in Ireland in 2005.

  • Henry94

    IJP

    Maybe you and I will find our way into the same party post-unification… 🙂

    BYOB

  • Animus

    Poverty is measured in a number of different ways, so I do think it is critical to see what measures are used here. For example, if you have a roof over your head, but no money to pay the electricity or heat, one would hardly argue that one is not living in poverty.

    Measures change over time as well. To use the same example again, indoor plumbing is pretty standard these days, but 150 years ago, it was a bit of a luxury.

    Found this definition of relative poverty

    describes a person as poor in comparison to other members of their society. If the vast majority of people in a particular society have access to particular goods and services, eg telephone, car etc, the minority who are excluded from these goods and services on financial grounds can be said to be in relative poverty.
    How this could be compared across all nations I don’t know though.

  • J McConnell

    This canard again.

    The Rep. of Ireland is not the second richest country in the world. Its not even in the top ten.

    Here is some simple economics 101. GDP is a measure of the total economic activity in a country. GNP is a measure of the total economic activity in a country minus all repatriated profits and income.

    Normally these numbers are interchanagable for a country but the Rep of Ireland is unique in that there is a difference in GDP and GNP of almost 25% of GDP. For almost every other country it is 2 or 3%. So all per capita income numbers for Ireland based on GDP are complete bogus because more than 20% of the putative per capita income has actually left the country.

    When you do a GNP per head calculation Ireland still rates just above average for the EU. And when you start doing PPP and real world disposable income calculations, and the real cost of living for real families, then Ireland is still quite a bit behind the UK and way way behind the US.

    So all these discussions of poverty, which is a relative measurement anyway, are completely spurious because they are based on a meaningless ‘average’ income number.

  • Mick

    More reading on J McC’s point.

  • smcgiff

    But J McC argument is flawed also.

    Because you cannot simply deduct the difference between GDP and GNP (multinationals) and assume the GNP should reflect a country like Ireland.

    The true value would be Ireland’s GNP and a percentage of the Multinational value. I’ve no idea what this percentage is, but you simply can’t ignore it.

    I’m surprised that someone like J Mc can see the flaw in one set of statistics and not see the flaw in a simple GNP measure.

    To do so would be to give no value to the large portion of Ireland’s economy that goes to servicing multinationals, that is not available to drive GDP.

  • Keith M

    Thanks Animis, but “relative poverty” is completly bogus. If I moved to Monaco, where even on my wages I wouldn’t be able to afford most of the services enjoyed by the rest of the population, would I suddenly be “poor”. Let’s not use the term “relative poverty”, let’s call it what it really is, a begrudger’s charter.

  • Young Fogey

    Animus is right – the measures can and must change over time. For example, 50 years ago a car was a real luxury, only available to the rich, and consequently not a necessity.

    Now most people own cars, so public transport collapses, so those without cars, except for the bigger cities, are excluded from lots of job opportunities and find it difficult to access essential services, and all of a sudden a car is a necessity…

    Some degree of inequality is necessary as a spur to economic activity, if nothing else, but there are serious questions as to whether the Republic has the right balance.

    I hope our NI anti-Grammar fascists note the stunning performance of the Republic’s wonderful Comprehensive system for people at the bottom, as well.

  • Ciall

    I’ve been content to merely read through Slugger up until now, but I can’t let that one go unchallenged Keith.
    To dismiss relative poverty as “a begrudger’s charter” is very simplistic. If a section of society cannot afford to access most of the services enjoyed by the rest of society, they tend to perceive themselves as ignored and isolated, and can get trapped in a cycle of disadvantage in terms of educational and employment opportunites (particularly in cities). This social exclusion can happen in rich countries such as Ireland just as much as in poorer countries.
    The level of absolute poverty in Ireland has been greatly reduced since the beginning of the 1990s, but the high level of relative poverty highlights the growing social exclusion and gap between the comfortable middle class and those less well-off in Irish society.

    To illustrate this point, the residents association of a new housing estate in Foxrock (an affluent suburb of south county Dublin) was thankfully recently refused permission to put up an electronic gate at the entrance to the estate to prevent “undesirables” from getting in. Unless people in the Republic start realising that it is in everybody’s interest to have proper supports in place to help the marginalised in society (and are prepared to pay the necessary taxes), we may end up like South Africa with the rich living safely in gated communities but also with large ‘no-go’ areas. I don’t think that is a vision of Ireland that would appeal to any right-thinking citizen.

  • J McConnell

    smcgiff

    If you are a regular reader of the stats from the CSO you will see a lot of national a/c numbers that are very different from other countries, even very export oriented ones like Singapore.

    To give one example from an industry I know intimately, software. Just two companies Microsoft and Oracle funnel more than $10 billion in revenue through Ireland last year. None of this software was developed in Ireland so the net margin for the Irish subs was 99% plus, before we get into the creative world of multi-national company transfer pricing arrangements.

    Does this $10b of profit stay in Ireland available for consumption or capital goods? I dont think so.

    Some may stay with the Treasury depts in Ireland to take advantage of the IFSC but I’m sure that most of it is repatriated directly or indirectly to the Treasury depts in Bellevue and Redwood Shores respectively.

    And I am sure it is exactly the same in that other ultra-high margin industry, organic chemicals and pharmaceuticals. How else can you explain the bizarre trading pattern that has developed with Belgium over the last few years.

    If you look at the CSO numbers for the last few years it certainly looks like that almost all the difference between GDP and GNP leaves the country.

  • DCB

    J McConnell

    With regards to transfer pricing, with a corp tax rate of 12.5% Ireland is going to be a net benefiter of hooky transfer pricing as multi-nat’s seek to shift profits from high tax countries into low tax ones.

    From a tax perspective Ireland’s USP is it’s low tax rate combined with it’s membership of the EU. Most mature tax systems have some form of legislation which gives extra-territorial taxing rights over subsidiaries of home companies in low tax jurisdictions. But if you try and exercise this across EU member states you’ll find yourself in trouble – Cadbury Schweppes is currently suing the British government on this very point, IIRC for them it’s over the UK gov trying to tax the profits of their Dublin docks inter-group finance company.

    [It’s a very simple scheme, you borrow externally in London, take your interest deduction in the UK, equity inject the funds into your irish sub and then lend the funds back up stream into the UK and get another interest deduction in the UK. The corresponding interest receipt is only taxed in Ireland at 12.5%, so your net up 17.5%. Do this with a company based in Bermuda and the Inland Revenue will hit you for the extra 17.5%]

    However these hooky profits made by group financing companies are not that easy to repatriate in a tax efficient manor, and are often left overseas to support a mulit-nat’s group liquidity. Hence the support given to the dollar earlier this year arising out of US tax breaks given to multi-nat’s to repat profits.

  • George

    J McConnell,

    on statistics, what about the GNI measure, which the UK uses and also takes into account money repatriated back into the country?

    You are just looking at money that leaves Ireland but forget our own multi-nationals and what they repatriate.

    There’s a bit of money coming in you know, considering Ireland is the 9th largest investor in the United States, for example.

    According to the World Bank, Ireland was 6th in 2002 using this measure.

  • J McConnell

    George

    Here is the OECD’s look at Ireland – GDP v GNI from March 2005.

    http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/1507/GDP_and_GNI.html

    Here is the money quote..

    >>

    This means that in a GNI ranking, rather than being in the top five, Ireland drops to 17th. In other words, while Ireland produces a lot of income per inhabitant, GNI shows that less of it stays in the country than GDP might suggest. Japan’s GNI rank, in contrast, is a little higher than it is for GDP, at 13th, reflecting the effect of strong net financial inflows from firms and workers based abroad.

  • smcgiff

    J McConnell,

    Looks like we work in the same industry.

    Also, I worked in Dell Computer’s ASC, which, among other functions accounted for Transfer Pricing. And there’s strict rules as to how transfer pricing is allowed.

    But even assuming 100% of the difference between GDP and GNP leaves the country you can’t take away the benefit multi-nats provide the country, and that roi resources that go to servicing multi-nats are not available to increase GDP.

    For example, take away the benefit Dell computers has to Limerick. As devastating as it would be, if they disappeared then they would be available to become entrepreneurs and improve GNP.

  • smcgiff

    J McConnell,

    Looks like we work in the same industry.

    Also, I worked in Dell Computer’s ASC, which, among other functions accounted for Transfer Pricing. And there’s strict rules as to how transfer pricing is allowed.

    But even assuming 100% of the difference between GDP and GNP leaves the country you can’t take away the benefit multi-nats provide the country, and that roi resources that go to servicing multi-nats are not available to increase GDP.

    For example, take away the benefit Dell computers has to Limerick. As devastating as it would be, if they disappeared then they would be available to become entrepreneurs and improve GNP.

  • smcgiff

    ‘are not available to increase GDP’.

    Second time I got that wrong, so I’ll correct it…

    Are not available to incrase GNP.

  • Dandyman

    Sure, ’tis all a shadowy republican conschpiricee to do down the Unionist Commooonity by massaging de figgers and manippilating de schtatischticks to make it seem like we’re all millinares.

  • Fraggle

    J McConnell, your link is based on out of date information and is another example of lazy journalism. Tertiary sources are usually dodgy.

    Try this table..
    Table

    When a country’s GNI is growing at roughly 5% a year, using data that are even 3 years out of date can lead to all sorts of mistakes.

    As far as I’m aware, the table I’ve linked is the most recent available and Ireland is either 12th or 7th placed depending on the method of calculation, behind the USA but ahead of the UK.

  • Keith M

    Ciall,
    “If a section of society cannot afford to access most of the services enjoyed by the rest of society, they tend to perceive themselves as ignored and isolated, and can get trapped in a cycle of disadvantage in terms of educational and employment opportunites (particularly in cities).”

    If they have people pandering to them and telling them they are “poor” because they can’t afford what others can and then you don’t provide them with the opportunity to work their way out of this “poverty trap”, this may be true. Thankfully in this country, there now are jobs for everyone who wants to work. We have one of the highest minimum wage rates in the World, so to suggest that 15% are living in “poverty” is simply ridiculous. I have stated on several occasions that I believe more needs to be done on education, especially those who left school early or find themselves out of work in middle age.

    “The level of absolute poverty in Ireland has been greatly reduced since the beginning of the 1990s, but the high level of relative poverty highlights the growing social exclusion and gap between the comfortable middle class and those less well-off in Irish society.”. No, it simply hightlights that some people are unwilling or unable to work. How many fall into each category is purely subjective, but a freezing or reduction in welfare would soon sort the workshy out.

    “Unless people in the Republic start realising that it is in everybody’s interest to have proper supports in place to help the marginalised in society (and are prepared to pay the necessary taxes), we may end up like South Africa with the rich living safely in gated communities but also with large ‘no-go’ areas.”

    Firstly having recently visited South Africa, I can tell you that the “no go” areas are not as extensive as you might be led to believe. Nobody is denying that there should be support for those that are genuinely unable to find work. However I do not believe that a penny of taxpayer money should be spent on those who are able to help themselves, but choose not to. The government needs to provide people with opportunity in the form of education and jobs. A hand up is a thosand times more effective in dealing with real poverty than a hand out.

  • Animus

    “Everyone who wants to work can” But can everyone who wants to work afford childcare? Or care for their elderly parents? What about lone parents? Does everyone actually get the minimum wage? Unfortunately no. People with disabilities may desperately want to work but find that either a workplace isn’t willing to take them on, or the pay is not enough to ensure that their healthcare is covered. Property prices and rent is accelerating far faster than incomes. It’s not as simple as you make out Keith.

    Sure if you’re single, no dependents, no disability and can afford rent, you’re in. Poverty affects those who have least opportunity to change their situation. Education will only get one so far; it’s a myth that education will get everyone back into the workplace. The ACE scheme is the 80s and 90s was overrun by superqualified individuals who were extremely well-educated.

  • Baluba

    There are many people living in poverty on this island. I remember a friend of mine whose Mum had to choose between heating or dinner quite often. Dinner was often a can of corned beef and a few pieces of white bread too.

    Poverty is relative. Just because you aren’t in immediate danger of death does not mean you are not poor.

  • George

    J Mc Connell,
    do you believe your article warrants more merit than the World Bank GNI figures which put Ireland at 7th in 2004 with the PPS method and 12th using the Atlas method?

    http://www.worldbank.org/data/databytopic/GNIPC.pdf

    I ask because it doesn’t say where it gets its 17th figure from.

    I agree with Baluba, there are many poor people, less than there used to be in the first up best dressed days but still loads.

  • Dave

    Ireland second wealthiest nation in the world?

    If this is the case (Don’t know nor do I believe) why is it that the highest number of foreign immigrants residing in LONDON are from the Republic of Ireland? Near on 500,000 in the past ten years (when the ROI is supposed to be doing so well)? this is according to the latest survey?

    Is someone trying to make the Republic look good for other reasons?

    Some say it is not EU money that makes the Republic look good, but then where would they have been without it?

    Think I’ll rest my case there>

  • soothsayer

    Dave,

    what case?

  • smcgiff

    *Looks at Dave’s contribution* Ha! Ha!

    Where to start…

  • J McConnell

    I looked at the World Bank numbers, they look reasonable, but when I saw Norway near the top of my list I was reminded of the study I read about recently where someone compared the actual standard and cost of living in the four Scandinavian countries and compared the result with the official numbers. According to the official numbers Norwegian are much much richer than the other Scandinavians (all that oil and gas) but when you did real world comparison of the actual net disposable income in each country, and the actual cost of all the necessities of day to day living, ordinary Norwegian were by far the poorest in Scandinavia.

    According to the WB numbers Ireland has 80% of the per/capita income of the US, but does that number translate into having any real meaning in real life? From personal experience I have found that it does not. When I compare the net disposal income I could expect when working equivalent jobs, and living roughly equivalent lifestyles in the Ireland and the US it turns out that the best I could expect in Ireland is maybe 40% of my US net disposable income. Actually that’s not true, I would have to forgo a lot of items in Ireland that I would take for granted in the US. When I do the same calculation for the UK (London) I get maybe 50% of my US net income.

    The only thing that has really changed in Ireland in the last twenty years is that consumer spending patterns now conform to that in other industrialized countries, and the high participation rate of women in the workforce means a much higher household income. But one still finds oneself asking the simple question, how do people make ends meet here.

    My guess is that the real gap between the rich and poor has not changed much in the last twenty years. A lost more conspicuous consumption and a lot less conspicuous poverty but once you scratch the glossy surface its really a case of plus ca change..

  • D’Oracle

    Havnt had time to link to a telling page but while the Republic’s GNP/GDP gap is notable at something like 13-14%, its nothing like as high and not quite as high as J.Mc Connells 25 %.

    The 22.6 % literacy point is extremely age-related ; increasing %’s of all post 1960’s age cohorts have increasingly higher educational qualifications across the spectrum from basic literacy to Phd’s. In short, the old-timer ‘non-readers’ are a dying breed

  • D’Oracle

    Havnt had time to link to a telling page but while the Republic’s GNP/GDP gap is notable at something like 13-14%, its nothing like as high as J.Mc Connells 25 %.

    The 22.6 % literacy point is extremely age-related ; increasing %’s of all post 1960’s age cohorts have increasingly higher educational qualifications across the spectrum from basic literacy to Phd’s. In short, the old-timer ‘non-readers’ are a dying breed

  • J McConnell

    Here’s the link at the cso

    http://www.cso.ie/statistics/nationalingp.htm

    2004
    GDP – Value 148,556
    GNP – Value 124,250
    GNI – Value 125,714

    So the GDP/GNP difference is 20%.

    And GNI is only 1.5B more than GNP.

  • D’Oracle

    PS
    The GNP/GDP gap for 2004 was 16.3%. Gap has tended to widen in recent years as GNP growth has been somewhat faster than the GDP numberrate.

    http://www.cso.ie/releasespublications/documents/economy/current/nie.pdf

  • D’Oracle

    Sumz, schumbz ;lies damned lies-whatever

  • Dandyman

    Schure didn’t I tell’ee awle earlier, ’tis all a big shadowy republican conschpiricy to do down de Unionist Commooonity by massaging de figgurs and manippilating de schtatischticks to make it seem like we’re all a bunch of Leckschus dthriving, schigaar-puffing, breeefcase-touting, caviar-munching millinaires!!!

  • Young Fogey

    Sometimes it’s really hard to not to break the man-ball rule:

    Near on 500,000 in the past ten years (when the ROI is supposed to be doing so well)?

    There haven’t been 500,000 immigrants from the Republic to Britain in the past 10 years. There are 500,000 people who live in Britain but were born in the Republic. I think the majority of these emigrated in the ’50s and ’60s.

    If 12% or so of the population of the Republic had moved to Britain in the past 10 years, you’d notice, wouldn’t you?

    Some may not actually even be Irish – i.e. they were born to English parents who were temporarily living in or visiting Ireland. Certainly a large proportion of those born in Germany were born to squaddie families, as well as a smaller proportion of those born in India and Pakistan.

    Muppet.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Keith M

    – “The level of absolute poverty in Ireland has been greatly reduced since the beginning of the 1990s, but the high level of relative poverty highlights the growing social exclusion and gap between the comfortable middle class and those less well-off in Irish society.”.
    – No, it simply hightlights that some people are unwilling or unable to work. How many fall into each category is purely subjective, but a freezing or reduction in welfare would soon sort the workshy out.

    It always make me laugh to hear this argument that unemployment and economic inequality in society are caused by some sections of the community just being lazier than others. I mean, does anyone – even the most dogmatic of orthodox capitalists – does ANYONE actually believe that everyone has exactly the amount of material possessions they deserve?

    We know this is not the case, yet preposterous, ideologically-driven plutocratic drivel like this somehow gets traction.

    Think about it this way: think about the 20th century history of the industrialised world according to your principle that the poor are just workshy. In the early part of the century we had a small number of exceptionally hard-working people, everyone else was doing just enough. Then came the war and everyone started working a little harder. This industrious mood spilled over into the 1920s but as that decade wore on more and more people started to get lazy. Then, on a specific weekend in 1929, the idlers inherited the earth. Half the world went for a lie down. Lazy bastards spent the next ten years leeching off the decent, hard-working people who actually deserved to eat. Eventually though the idlers repented of their ways and even marked their return to work with a world war, no less.

    And so on. In the 50s and 60s people worked hard. In the 70s they became lazy again. Since the early 80s they’ve generally been not too bad though there was a worrying bit of daydreaming in the c.87-c.93 period.

    Or is that history of the twentieth century just completely fucking idiotic?

    (Excuse my language.)

    Back, Keith M, back to the 1980s with you.

  • Southern Republican

    Personally I find the illitracy the most worrying, that should be sorted out immiediatly. As for being socialist etc.. Irish people need to cop on they want all the socialist trappings, but will march if you raise taxes? Give me a break, Irish people will always want lower taxes, lower taxes means less services, despite what the OECD or any Eddie Hobbs woul hve us believe.

  • Dave

    Close on 500.000 (irish People) are the largest group of immigrant foreigners living in London. The Republic of ireland must be a great place to live? that is why everyone is going there is it not?

    catch yourselves on.

  • Suzi

    The US census says that US poverty in 2004 was 12.7%. I’m thinking that’s a bit lower than 15.2%.

    This article on US poverty describes what people who live in poverty have in the US. According to the article, poverty levels in America generally describe families who own their own homes, have air conditioning, at least one car, a washer and dryer, a microwave, two TVs, a VCR and/or DVD player, and get cable or satellite.

    The average “poor” in the US has a much larger living space than the average Parisian, Athenian, Londonite, etc. Most have 2 rooms per person in their home.

    I’m not Irish, so I don’t know, but does that match what yall call poverty?

  • Biffo

    Dave

    “Close on 500.000 (irish People) are the largest group of immigrant foreigners living in London. The Republic of ireland must be a great place to live? that is why everyone is going there is it not?”

    Can anyone get me (and Dave) a good link to the statistics? Does the 500,000 include nordies? I assume it does.

  • ED

    Biffo,
    Here’s the link,

    Dave, save everyone some time and read the figures before making any more comments.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/uk/05/born_abroad/countries/html/republic_of_ireland.stm

  • maca

    Dave
    You’re saying 342,444 Irish people moved to London in the past 4 years? Catch yourself on.

    A few hundred thousand Brtish people live in Ireland. Does that mean the UK is equally a great place to live Dave?

  • J McConnell

    Suzi

    I dont know what the numbers are for Ireland but I read a study recently that showed that the take home income of the average middle class Swede would qualify them for Food Stamps in the state of Mississippi.

    My guess is that a lot of the smug middle class readers of the Irish Times who are aways making snide remarks about poverty and inequality in the US would also qualify for Food Stamps.

    The visible manifestations of a good standard of living are much more obvious in Ireland than they were 10 years ago, its obvious there is a lot more money around, but the difference in the material wealth of ordinary people between Ireland and the US are still very noticeable, and still very much in favour of the US.

  • Keith M

    Billy P, you may wish to ignore the facts, but I don’t. Over the past five years over 160k people emigrated to Ireland and found work. During the same period the average live register of those supposedly looking for work was just over 160k. Given that many of those coming to this country are either unskilled or are not using the skills they had in their former country, there is only one conclusion; some people are happy to live on welfare and couldn’t be bother finding a job. What percentage of the 160k that is, I’m not prepared to guess, but even if it was only 25%, there would be an additional 40,000 plus dependents on their way out of this lucicrous measure of “poverty”.

    Animus, childare is undoubtedly an issue and something which the government need to make progress, but it is not making people poor (by any measure of poverty).

    The government can only make and enforce laws on minimum wage (both of which they have done, unlike previous governments).

    Education is the biggest enabler to getting out of poverty. I’m not suggesting for a moment that it’s an instant solution, but there are people who are unemployed who could find work with additioonal training.

  • Keith M

    Billy P, you may wish to ignore the facts, but I don’t. Over the past five years over 160k people emigrated to Ireland and found work. During the same period the average live register of those supposedly looking for work was just over 160k. Given that many of those coming to this country are either unskilled or are not using the skills they had in their former country, there is only one conclusion; some people are happy to live on welfare and couldn’t be bother finding a job. What percentage of the 160k that is, I’m not prepared to guess, but even if it was only 25%, there would be an additional 40,000 plus dependents on their way out of this lucicrous measure of “poverty”.

    Animus, childare is undoubtedly an issue and something which the government need to make progress, but it is not making people poor (by any measure of poverty).

    The government can only make and enforce laws on minimum wage (both of which they have done, unlike previous governments).

    Education is the biggest enabler to getting out of poverty. I’m not suggesting for a moment that it’s an instant solution, but there are people who are unemployed who could find work with additioonal training.

  • ED

    J McConnell
    -The visible manifestations of a good standard of living are much more obvious in Ireland than they were 10 years ago, its obvious there is a lot more money around, but the difference in the material wealth of ordinary people between Ireland and the US are still very noticeable, and still very much in favour of the US.-

    I have to disagree; there are probably 10 or 11 states that are ahead of Ireland, the rest of the country is miles behind.

    I’ve lived in various places over the past few years and the level of poverty in the southern states is frightening. I’ve seen 89 year old men pack bags in supermarkets to pay for the medicine to stay alive.

    It’s quiet normal to have people working 2 and 3 jobs in the states and still not make ends meet. If standard of living is how much you earn, then Ireland (and other EU states)is behind. However if Standard of living is how you live your life, we’re miles ahead.

  • barnshee

    I don`t know about “Ireland second wealthiest nation in the world” but a short experience of eating out in a crowded Dublin resturant recently suggested that there is a lot of money about.

    Modest enough resturant,Meal for 2 -Favourite bottle of wine- Apertif, the full monty three courses +coffee +liquer (I know I Know, these aniversaries) Total with tip near enough 180 euroes. A lot of bills being settled in cash mind you. (A similar meal in the black north 80/89 euros.)

  • J McConnell

    ED

    Ah, the old quality of life argument….

    My personal experience of the underside of the US has been places like South Central LA, West Oakland, Hunters Point, the wrong side of town of a whole bunch of cities in the Central Valley and Sierra Foothills, and various casino-less Indian reservations in Washington, Arizona, and New Mexico. How do they compare with your experiences?

    I also have known people over the years people who grew up in grinding poverty all over the US including the deep South. They had many sad tales to tell.

    I’ve also seen up close the nasty side of Irish urban and rural poverty. In fact rural poverty in Ireland is much worse than urban poverty, and much better hidden. Not too far from where I write this are people living in poverty as grinding and desperate as anything you’ll find in the US. Its just not as obvious, or glaring, as it would be in the US.

    Despite what the Economist says about the Irish been the most contented people the first thing that strikes me everytime I visit is just how ill-at-ease and grim everyone looks here, and how they seem to spend their whole time moaning about everything. Not complaining, which means they might actually do something about it, just moan. Its always a relief to get back to the US where, at least on the West Coast, everyone just seems to get on with life and seems to be at ease with themselves.

    Maybe they all are just taking happy drugs on the West Coast. If so, maybe thy need to start taking them here…

    Based on my own personal experience the quality of life in Ireland does not hold a candle to the US. And it seems I am not alone in this opinion. Over the years I have met quite a number of Irish people in US who had moved back to Ireland and who had then moved back to the US again when the myth of the better quality of life in Ireland had not withstood closer scrutiny.

  • southern observer

    ‘Personally I find the illitracy the most worrying, that should be sorted out immiediatly.’
    Tends to be the pre-Celtic Tiger generation.

  • ED

    J McConnell
    -Based on my own personal experience the quality of life in Ireland does not hold a candle to the US. And it seems I am not alone in this opinion. Over the years I have met quite a number of Irish people in US who had moved back to Ireland and who had then moved back to the US again when the myth of the better quality of life in Ireland had not withstood closer scrutiny.-

    I have a different point of view and it seems I’m not alone, I know A load of Irish people who have come back to live in Ireland or the UK and swear that they would never go back, and let me not forget American friends and colleagues that want to stay in Ireland because of the better quality of life. (Okay, a lot of them are democrats!)

    By the way, no matter how much things improve in Ireland, you’re always going to hear moans.

  • J McConnell

    ED

    One thing I noticed was the longer people stayed in the US and the more they broke out of the ex-pat community, the more likely they were to stay, or have a failed return. After a certain point one starts getting used to all the opportunities, choices, and freedom, and it becomes impossible to readjust and accept all the constraints of being back in Ireland. Some find the straight-jacket reassuring other find it suffocating. But each to their own I suppose.

    As for the democrats. I found that the more Democratic a city is the more you will run into completely over the top opinions about the current situation. (And I say this as a democrat voter.) And the further you move into the boomer demographic the more drama-queen the opinions become. Outside of the bubble cities people on both sides of the divide tend to be a bit more even keeled and reasonable about politics.

  • smcgiff

    J McC,

    You almost had me moving to the US what will all that Freedom you mention, especially the Freedom Fox News assures you that you have, until I remembered how many states voted Bush back into the White House.

    If you’re looking for affirmation that you’ve made the right choice to live in the US then you’ve come to the wrong place.

  • Brian Boru

    Dave, the 500,000 figure is a huge drop from the 850,000 it was a few years ago. CSO figures out today show that 70,000 immigrants came to the Republic in the year up to May 2005, and these figures are likely an underestimate, owing to the exclusion from the statistics of seasonal workers and foreign-students. Also, you neglect to mention the 200,000 UK citizens living in the Republic. In fact, the levels of immigration into the Republic are likely to be far higher, because 136,000 PPS no.s (Personal Public Service) were issued to citizens of the new EU states so far this year. An estimate 10% of the Southern population is now non-Irish. Clearly, the Celtic Tiger is proving to be a magnet for immigration – even if I do have concerns about the levels.

  • smcgiff

    “Even if I do have concerns about the levels.” – Brian Boru – 1014

    Tsk, somethings never change!
    😉

  • George

    Dave,

    “Close on 500.000 (irish People) are the largest group of immigrant foreigners living in London. The Republic of ireland must be a great place to live? that is why everyone is going there is it not?

    catch yourselves on.”

    You completely misunderstand the statistics. The 500,000 is total number not since 1991.

    If you look at the
    “>BBC’s breakdown you will see that there were 98,000 less people from the Irish Republic in the UK in 2001 than there were in 1991, a drop of 16%.

    You really need to catch yourself on to the changing demographics in Ireland. Figures released yesterday show that Ireland has 2 million at work and now has the fastest growing population in Europe.

    70,000 immigrants came in the last 12 months alone pushing the population to 4.13 million. But you continue to believe your own myths that everyone is leaving here if you want.

    Biffo,
    the number of people from Northern Ireland living in the UK grew from 276,000 to 295,000 in the same ten years.

  • George

    Oops,

    link

  • smcgiff

    Of course, those less generous than I would suggest this means those from NI are not British.

    British residents born in the British Isles
    TOTAL NUMBERS AS % OF ALL PEOPLE
    Sort by:Name 1991 2001 +/- % 1991 2001 +/- %
    England 42,897,376 43,967,372 2.49 78.15 77.00 -1.15
    Northern Ireland 276,780 295,380 6.72 0.50 0.52 0.02
    Republic of Ireland 592,283 494,850 -16.45 1.08 0.87 -0.21
    Scotland 5,221,094 5,229,364 0.16 9.51 9.16 -0.35
    Wales 2,747,836 2,815,085 2.45 5.01 4.93 -0.08

    VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM! *smcgiff has left the building*

  • smcgiff

    Eeek – Best to viewed on the relevant website (See down at the bottom of George’s link)

  • J McConnell

    smcgiff

    Not that I’m looking for affirmation from someone like you. Based on the cliches you spout you obviously have not the slightest clue about the subject.

  • smcgiff

    That comment hurt, coming from an intellectual giant like yourself.

    BTW, what was that comment about the average Swedish income being eligible for food stamps in Mississippi again?