Thank's to the unpopular property tax we at least know slightly more about the super wealthy in Ireland. The government is normally very careful to neither collect information about this group nor to publish it in a way that would reveal the enormous gap in wealth and power between us and them. It would not do to have Joe or Josephine Worker realise that they could work for 10,000 years and still never approach the wealth of the Denis O'Briens.
The Property Tax means the Revenue Commissioners have had to reveal the information that there are 5 people in the country who each own over 500 houses. If each of those houses was worth a modest 125,000 on average each of those five people have over 62 million of personnel wealth in housing alone.
Of course they presumably don't move house every day for the two years it would be required to spend a night in each one. If instead they are renting each house for 1000 a month each of those people is taking in half a million a month of 6 million a year in income.
In 2013 half the population had a gross income of less than 18,000 a year. So each of those five people has an income equal to 333 average people in Ireland. They are making more in a day then we make in a year (assuming a five day week). And they may not be working at all, they have this vast wealth and the huge income it generates every year without having to do a tap if they have a management company carrying out the work of renting the properties out.
Those 5 are just the peak of the pyramid of wealth made out of the misery of landlordism. Another 4 people have 4-500 houses each. 10 men have 3-400 houses, and so on. With all this wealth comes power, power to brown envelope politicians, many of who are landlords and property speculators themselves. Power to make sure tenants remain without effective protection from a ruthless landlord class that thinks nothing of pushing rents up every year, leaving those who can't afford the increases with no place to go. Power to buy the media so that this entire exploitative system is presented as the most natural thing in the world rather than some dark vampire like nightmare where dead capital drains the lives of living workers.
WORDS: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )