Last month the Irish Sunday Independent declared that the Irish economy was turning, and that serious money was being made. This was the paper’s sales pitch for its rich list issue. What it failed to mention was that money, serious money, has never stopped being made by Ireland’s richest people, and neither did it mention that this accumulation of wealth made no difference whatsoever to the growing number of people being driven into poverty. Yesterday the Irish Times’ Sunday issue published its own rich list positively glorifying the mind-blowing wealth of a tiny minority of Irish people, and the fact that the wealth of this elite has been increasing during the years of the state’s economic depression. Two hundred and fifty people currently have €75 billion (41% of the national debt), and the richest thirteen people are in the money to the tune of €38 billion (21% of Ireland’s national debt). What we see here is nothing more than the continuation of a wealth transfer from the poorest to the richest, at a time when services and welfare are being cut and taxes raised; making the poorest people foot the bill for a grotesque €85 billion EU/IMF bailout.
Wealth creation in the past decade has not turned our economy around, and it has not benefited the people of Ireland. The proclamation of the end of the recession has not put an end to austerity; people are still dying as a result of the cuts, and the number of families forced into homelessness is only increasing. This wealth is not being made for the public good, however much it is being made at the public’s cost – it is being made by private individuals. Huge amounts of money are being made, and this is true. Recession Ireland has been a Godsend for the wealthy of Ireland, and every penny they make is another penny from the common purse. Newspaper editors are so busy fawning over the super-rich that they are ignoring any real analysis of the cost of this wealth to the people of Ireland, but to be fair we have to concede that these editors are employed by the super-rich. Money – the hard symbol of wealth – isn’t for the making of billionaires! It is the unit by which we measure the value of our common heritage, and so it must be used for the common good.
Ùr-Fhàsaidh is a Christian social justice blogger and the author of his own random public journal – the Tuppence Worth blog. If the Christian faith is to have a place in the public discussion it must first ensure that it is a source of liberation for those who are oppressed. Faith of any kind means precious little if it is not about and for people. Follow on Facebook and Twitter: