£15 a day or £150?
Could you live on £104 a week? This is the average gross income of the poorest groups in Irish society today, according to last week's CSO household budget survey. This is in the start contrast to the average gross weekly income of the wealthiest 10% of households who have to get by on £1,054 a week. It means that the bottom 10% of 26-County families subsist on less than £15 a day, a difficult task even for one person, while the wealthiest 10% have £150 a day to spend.
Bertie Ahern, might not want us to talk about a society of rich and poor but the CSO survey which measured changes in household income and spending over the five years to 2000 clearly showed a widening gap between the haves and have nots in Irish society.
120,000 households, the richest 10% have an average income of £75,000 a year. The CSO survey also found that disposable income for the richest 20% of households grew by 61% over the last five years, compared with a 37% jump for the poorest 20% of households.
Perhaps one of the more worrying trends unearthed by the CSO was that pensioners were making up a greater proportion of low-income earners in the state. Now nearly 38% of pensioners are in the least well off groups, compared with 30% five years ago.
At a time when redundancies are daily news, it is nice to hear of someone not just holding on to their job, but getting a substantial bonus as well. Richard Conroy, chairperson of Conroy Diamonds and Gold, a mining and exploration company, is our happy worker of the week. Richie was paid £350,000 by the company for, "information, knowledge and expertise", which has helped the company's operations in Finland.
We will be scouring the labour markets in coming weeks for other workers who have displayed similar feats and are rewarded as generously as Professor Conroy. For those of you who are hanging onto your jobs by your fingertips or subsisting on low incomes, your failure is now made clear. You need to help your employers by sharing your knowledge and expertise with them.
If only someone had told you that the solution was so simple, we wouldn't all be worrying about eking out lives as wage slaves and would be the better for it. Don't say nobody told you.