Sinn Féin’s Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has today (Wednesday) called on the Government to do more to address the huge problem of income disparity in the county.
Deputy Doherty made his comments following a recent report compiled by Donegal born economist, Dr. Dan McLaughlin, which has found that Donegal had the lowest income levels on average per head over the period of the study.
“The study looks at income levels over a thirteen year period between 2000 and 2012 and gives quiet a good overall picture of how Donegal has fared both prior to and during the recession.”
“In terms of income per head, which is made up of wages and earnings, rents, dividends and interest, income levels in Donegal were found to be the lowest relative to the other counties in the state – meaning that, based on income, Donegal is the poorest county in the state.”
“In fact even at the height of the boom, income levels in the county were less than 73% of the state average in the year 2005.”
“While income levels in Donegal during the recession didn’t fall as quickly as in other parts of the state, which by 2012 was calculated to represent 76% of the overall state average, this was simply due to the fact that income levels here were quiet low to begin with.”
“Indeed, if you look at the average income figure over the thirteen year period between the year 2000 and 2012, Donegal had the lowest levels of income per head per county, placing us at the bottom of the league table.”
“If we choose to use disposable income levels as a measure of economic performance, which is the amount of personal income after tax, Donegal does fare slightly better, however this still only equates to less than 75% of the state’s average in 2005, and while this percentage rose during the recession this was because again relative disposable income didn’t fall here as fast as it did elsewhere such as in the Greater Dublin Area.”
“The average disposable income per head in Donegal prior to the bust in 2008 was €18,093, however the recession had a huge impact on living standards and by 2012 this figure had fallen back to €15,021 – a 12% decline over the four years.
“Essentially, during those years over €3,000 has been wiped from the disposable incomes of people from Donegal, something which has been exacerbated by years of Government led austerity.”
“Naturally, while these figures will come as no surprise to many, they do highlight the absolute failure of this government – and indeed previous governments – to address the huge problem of income disparity in Donegal.”
“I am calling on the Government to take a pro-active approach to this issue and to give an undertaking that it will do more to address this matter which has been reflected beyond doubt by these worrying statistics.”