The Irish rich aren't broke - they are worth 1250 billion in overseas investment alone


Irish rich have their wealth abroadA CSO report from 2009 revealed that Irish residents own 1251 billion euro worth of foreign stocks and bonds. Over 300 billion of this is invested in the US and 240 billion on Britain. These figures are for stocks and bonds only, they don't include other wealth that Irish residents hold abroad, for instance in the form of property. (Image: from the CSO report).

Reacting to these startling figures Andrew Flood of the WSM said "For months as the government have slashed the wages, social welfare and public services of ordinary working people we have been told that there is no alternative. Those of us who have demanded that the richest 1% must carry the cost of the capitalist crisis have been told this is impossible because they have lost their money. These figures show that this is a lie, that there is in fact a huge pool of wealth held by Irish residents. This is all the more remarkable when you realize that the figures must exclude the wealth of the so called tax exiles, that section of the incredibly rich who make sure to spend a least 6 months outside the country to avoid being liable for tax here. It is also very possible that some of this wealth is controlled by the same developers who claim to be bankrupt and who are dumping 50 billion of their debt on us through NAMA."

The CSO report can be read in full as a PDF online. The CSO emphasized that "Overall, the data are compatible in form and content with the data submitted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of Ireland’s ongoing participation in the IMF’s world-wide annual Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey" and "with the portfolio investment stock statistics published on the 8th October 2010 in the Release International Investment Position – 31 December 2009."

Update: There is confusion over what exactly this figure measures as it is 10 times that reported in the Bank of Ireland 'Wealth of the Nation' report from 2008 which claimed "The asset base (excluding residential property) of the top 1% of the population increased by €14bn to €100bn, an increase of 16%."  But it is also considerably lower than the funds held by IFSC companies who might claim to be resident for tax purposes, according to the Irish Times "In 2008, 8,000 funds were located in the IFSC, with €1,560 billion of assets."  In all cases it is still apparent that the richest 1% still own a vast amount of wealth.