The wealthiest 1% of Irish society now owns more than a quarter of the country's wealth or €232 billion, a new report from Oxfam claims.

The research also shows that with €15 billion between them, the two richest people here have 50% more wealth than the poorest half of the population.

In total the study, based on data collated from Forbes, Credit Suisse and Wealth-X, found eight Irish people are worth over €1 billion, down one from last year.

But 1,435 individuals in Ireland are worth over €47m while 20,575 own over € 4.7m.

Over the last decade, the numbers in both those categories has more than doubled, the analysis found, as wealth creation in Ireland grows.

Laying out how new wealth is distributed, the study claims that for every $100 or €93 of wealth created in Ireland over the past decade, a third has gone to the richest 1% and less than 50c to the bottom 50%.

The richest 1% have therefore gained 70 times more wealth than the bottom 50% in the last 10 years, Oxfam states.

The top 10% of the population now owns nearly two thirds of the wealth, totalling €547 billion, but the bottom 50% of Irish society owns only 1% of wealth.

"This rising wealth at the top and rising poverty for the rest are two sides of the same coin, proof that our economic system is functioning exactly how the rich and powerful designed it to," said Oxfam Ireland CEO Jim Clarken.

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"As crisis after crisis hits the poorest people hardest, it's time for Governments, including Ireland’s, to tax the rich."

"The very existence of billionaires while out-of-control inequality rises, is damning proof of policy failure."

Overall the international report, released to coincide with the start of the annual gathering of the global elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos, finds that for the first time in a quarter of a century, the rich are getting richer while at the same time the poor are getting poorer.

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Indeed the study entitled "Survival of the Richest" claims that over the past two years, the richest 1% of the world's population have acquired nearly twice as much wealth as the rest of humanity put together.

It says even though inflation is outpacing the wages of at least 1.7 billion workers, billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7bn a day.

Food and energy companies more than doubled their profits in 2022, paying out $257bn to wealthy shareholders, while over 800 million people went to bed hungry, it states.

It finds that although the fortunes of billionaires have fallen slightly since their peak in 2021, they remain trillions of dollars higher than before the Covid pandemic began.

As a result, Oxfam is again calling for an international approach to taxing the super-rich, with both permanent wealth taxes and temporary windfall taxes.

It wants to sees a halving of the wealth and number of billionaires between now and 2030.

In Ireland, Oxfam calculates that a wealth tax with graduated rates of 2%, 3% and 5% above a high threshold of €4.7 million would raise €8.2 billion annually.

It claims this money could be used to transform healthcare, housing and education while also enable Ireland to deliver on its international and climate commitments.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Clarken said extreme poverty is also increasing, with more than 800 million people going to bed hungry every night.

"1.7 billion workers are now earning wages that aren't accounting for inflation so they are actually becoming poorer."

Mr Clarken said there is only so much wealth that a wealthy individual can spend in multiple lifetimes.

"In truth, it is being amassed by individuals. It is not being put to economic use and it is just growing disproportionally compared to everybody else and what we are saying is that what need to happen now is this extreme wealth needs to be taxed."