Wealth Distribution in Ireland: new data, new insights

Tuesday, 1st March 2016. Management House, Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

The seminar consisted of a presentation from Rory Hearne of TASC, followed by questions and debate. The slides from the presentation are available here.

Presentation Abstract

Understanding the distribution of wealth is central to our understanding of economic inequality. Highly unequal societies are typified by high levels of wealth concentration, where wealth is held by very few people. Wealth tends to be distributed more unequally than income, and a highly unequal distribution of wealth causes problems for both the economy and society.

Measuring wealth is notoriously difficult. There is a lack of administrative data on wealth holdings, while surveys of wealth typically underestimate the wealth of those at the top.

Until recently, very little was known about the distribution of wealth in Ireland. The most comprehensive study of wealth in Ireland was from Nolan in 1991, which relied on data from 1987. The publication in 2015 of the results of the CSO’s “Household Finance and Consumption Survey”, part of a Euro-area survey, has generated new data on wealth in Ireland.

This presentation presents an analysis of this new data aimed at establishing new insights into the current distribution of wealth in Ireland and how it has changed over time. It also looks at what is driving the distribution of wealth in Ireland including real assets, financial assets, land and debt. The paper looks at the wealth by different household structures, including single adults, couples without children, couples with children and single-parent households. The presentation is based on TASC research on Ireland’s wealth distribution.


​Speaker biography: Rory Hearne is Senior Policy Analyst in TASC, the Think Tank for Action on Social Change. He has a PhD in Political and Economic Geography from Trinity College Dublin and worked as a Post-Doctoral researcher with the Department of Sociology, Maynooth on the impacts of austerity on human rights. Rory was also a Lecturer in Political and Economic Geography in the Department of Geography, Maynooth. He also worked as a policy researcher and community development worker with Barnardos and the inner-city Dolphin House Community Project. He has researched and published extensively in the areas of housing, politics, political economy, privatisation, human rights, social movements, and community development. He is author of the book Public Private Partnerships in Ireland published by Manchester University Press (2011).

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The Community Sector and Social Partnership 1987-2008: Analysis and Prospects

Wednesday, 22th April 2015. Management House, Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

The seminar consisted of a presentation from Joe Larraghy or Maynooth University, followed by questions and debate. The slides from the presentation are available here.

Presentation Abstract

It is now six years since the global financial crisis, which brought social partnership in Ireland to a shuddering halt. Now, in the run-up to an election year in 2016, and a backdrop of improvements in economic growth, unemployment and other indicators, there have been some signs that the government is interested in re-opening some form of "social dialogue". 

In this presentation, based on his book, Asymmetric Engagement, Larragy analyses of the experience of social partnership from the perspective of the participation of community sector organisations during the 1987 to 2008 period, examining questions such as: Was it a failure? Were there any tangible gains? Were the Community and Voluntary Pillar organisations incorporated? He explores the theoretical significance of what has been recognised as quite a novel experiment in participatory democracy. Finally, he explores the prospects for the future of community sector engagement with government on social policy development.


Speaker biography

Joe Larragy is Lecturer in Social Policy in the Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University, since 2001. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin, with a BA Mod (Sociology) before taking an MA in Social Theory at UCC. For his PhD in Social Policy at UCD he studied the Community and Voluntary Pillar in Social Partnership in Ireland 1987-2007. He has worked previously in the Department of Industrial Relations in UCD, the National Council on Ageing and Older People (1988-94), and was social policy analyst in the National Economic and Social Council and Newman Scholar in the Non-Profit Sector at UCD from 1999 until 2001. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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Getting It Right This Time - Housing and the Recovery

Tuesday, 4th November 2014Management House, Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin 2. 


Ronan Lyons (TCD) "Housing – Where we are now? Is there another bubble?"

Nat O’Connor (TASC) "Housing – Where should we be going?"

Michelle Norris (UCD) "Social and affordable housing and the recovery"


The ISPA seminar on housing included three presentations, followed by a questions and answers session.

Speaker biographies

Ronan Lyons (PhD)

Ronan is Assistant Professor of Economics at Trinity College Dublin and an applied urban economist. His doctoral thesis at Balliol College Oxford was on the economics of Ireland’s property market bubble and crash. His areas of focus include long-run housing markets and sustainable and behavioural aspects of real estate markets. He is a frequent contributor to national and international media on the Irish housing market and economic policy and is author of the quarterly Daft.ie Reports. He tweets as @ronanlyons

Michelle Norris (PhD)

Michelle is Senior Lecturer at the School of Applied Social Science, University College Dublin.  She has worked in local government social housing manager, as a central government housing researcher and as an academic. In 2010 she was appointed by an Taoiseach to National Economic and Social Council. Michelle has researched and published on social housing management and finance, urban regeneration in Ireland and across the EU.  Michelle has written extensively on housing policy, her latest book is entitled Social Housing, Disadvantage and Neighbourhood Liveability.

Nat O’Connor (PhD)

Nat is Research Director in TASC, the think-tank for action on social change. He has previously held the roles of Director and Policy Analyst with TASC. Nat holds a PhD in political science from Trinity College Dublin. Before joining TASC in 2009, he led the research team in the Homeless Agency. Nat has also worked as a consultant to local government and has lectured in NUI Maynooth and Trinity College Dublin and contributes regularly to electronic and print media.

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Postgraduate Conference 2014

The Irish Social Policy Association (ISPA) hosted their Postgraduate Conference on Friday, 11th July 2014 in the Seminar Room of the UCD Geary Institute. The conference programme can be accessed here.
Guest speaker, from the Department of Social Protection, was Dr. Kasey Threadwell Shine. Dr. Threadwell Shine's presentation on Linking Social Policy Research and Social Policy Making was very well received; the slides from her presentation can be accessed here. Postgraduate students past and present gave presentations across sessions on the themes of Community Development and Intervention, Health and Social Inclusion.
Maria 2

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Child Health Outcomes & Free GP Care: Evidence and Relevance

Tuesday, 27th May 2014. Management House, Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

The seminar consisted of presentations from Professor Richard Layte (ESRI) and Dr. Sara Burke (Journalist and Policy Analyst), followed by questions and debate.

Presentation Abstract

The seminar included two presentations followed, by a questions and answers session. The first from Professor Richard Layte (ESRI) presented evidence on child health outcomes in Ireland drawing on the finding of two recent research papers entitled Socioeconomic Inequalities in Child Health in Ireland' and Income-Related Inequity in the Use of GP Services: A Comparison of Ireland and Scotland. The slides from his presentation are available here.The second presentation, from Sara Burke (journalist, broadcaster & policy analyst), reviewed the current policy proposals for free GP care for under-6s and examine the context and challenges associated with its adoption. The slides from her presentation are available here.


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