The 1% are doing all right - Irish rich now much richer


The richest 300 people in Ireland are now worth 57 billion, almost as much as the entire IMF /ECB bailout. What's more, when the rest of us saw our take home pay fall massively in the last year they got 13% or 6.7 billion euro richer. Which hasn't stopped them demanding pay cuts for the rest of us.

This and other information about the wealthy 1% was revealed in the Sunday Independent Rich List 2011. The Independent is itself owned by members of Ireland's billionaire set, the O'Reilly family. This year the nine existing billionaires were joined by Coolmore's John Magnier and the boss of Glen Dimplex Martin Naughton.

John Magnier is also a senator, appointed there in 1987 by none other than Charles J. Haughey. According to the (London) Observer (3 May 1998) "since 1985, most of Haughey’s mares were serviced by Coolmore stallions, though what if any fees were charged is unknown." According to the Irish Independent (5 April 2009) Magnier is yet another of the wealthy 1% who is a tax 'exile' despite the huge funds that the horse racing sector receives from the state - 1/3 of the total sports budget in 2009 with most of that money going as prize funds to horse owners, again mostly drawn from the 1%.

The other new entry Martin Naughton also has shares in the Merrion Hotel Group and the Sunday Tribune, demonstrating once more the hold the 1% have over the media in Ireland. He is executive chairman of Glen Dimplex. In February of last year 200 workers at the Dunless, Co. Louth plant lost their jobs. Glen Dimplex chief executive Sean O’ Driscoll called for a five year pay freeze in September 2010 claiming “We pay ourselves too much.” Martin Naughton's entry onto the billionaire list suggests that as usual its one law for the wealthy 1% and quite another for the rest of us.