“It’s Up To Him To Clarify His Intentions”


Independent TD Noel Grealish; remittance figures, from the Central Statistics Office, provided to Mr Grealish last month

This morning.

On Morning Ireland, RTÉ journalist Rachel English asked Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe about Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish’s comments about remittances sent out of Ireland.

Yesterday, during Leaders’ Questions, Mr Grealish said:

“I bring to the Taoiseach’s attention the amount of money being transferred out of Ireland in personal remittances. Over the past eight years alone over €10 billion has left the country by way of personal transfers. That is a staggering amount of money.

The top five countries to which money was transferred in the past eight year include €843 million to Lithuania and €1 billion to France. The top three countries were: €1.54 billion to Poland, €2.7 billion to the United Kingdom and €3.54 billion to Nigeria.

These figures have been published by the World Bank which defines “personal remittances” as the sum of personal transfers and the compensation of employees.

It includes all current transfers in cash or in kind between resident and non-resident individuals independent of the source of income of the sender.”

“…Taoiseach, €3.4 billion transferred to one non-EU country is astronomical. Have Revenue or the Department of Finance any way of tracking this money or where it is coming from?

“Are mechanisms in place to ensure the money that leaves this country in personal remittances has been fully accounted for within the Irish revenue and tax system and is not the proceeds of crime or fraud?”

However, Mr Grealish was provided with significantly lower figures by Fine Gael TD Sean Kyne last month (see table above).

Further to this…

Mr Donohoe told Ms English this morning:

The figures provided to me today by the Central Statistics Office are some way short of this. It is difficult to accurately estimate this but it can be modelled and the Central Statistics Office indicates that, across many years, that figure has been around €17million per year.”

The minister went on to say that, given the disparity between Mr Grealish’s figures and those of the CSO, it’s important for Mr Grealish to “make clear exactly where these figures are coming from” and “why he’s singling out particular country outside the European Union”.

Ms English and Mr Donohoe also had this exchange…

Rachel English: “It seems that the figure you quoted this figure of an average of €17million a year going to Nigeria and that contrasts, it should be said, with in 2017, €342million going back to Poland, €92million to Lithuania, €43million to India, €50million to Latvia, it seems that these figures were provided to Noel Grealish. Why do you think then that he used the other figure yesterday?”

Paschal Donohoe:It’s up to him to clarify his intentions and up to him to clarify his use of figures. I’m very happy to clarify my view on these issues here which is that there has been much change in our economy, much change in our society as a result from people from elsewhere in Europe and outside of Europe coming to our country.

“It’s the kind of experience that Ireland visited to many other countries at other points in our history. We should have a degree of generosity and focus on the facts when we are debating this.”

In September, Mr Grealish referred to asylum seekers as “economic migrants from Africa who are coming here to sponge off us”.

H/T: Gavan Reilly.

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37 thoughts on ““It’s Up To Him To Clarify His Intentions”

  1. class wario

    This is the political climate we live in now: just throw some madcap madey-uppy incendiary ‘stat’ out there and hope for the best. You’ll always have a core group of people who will believe it and a further group within that group that refuses to believe any actual stats to the contrary

  2. some old queen

    If an immigrant can simultaneously scrounge of the state AND send money home then I say fair play to them- they are a hell of a lot better at managing their money than most of us.

    If they are working and sending money home then that is their own business- unless he is suggesting that there is something illegal going on?

    1. ReproBertie

      I believe he was asking an Taoiseach to check that none of the money is the proceeds of crime or fraud. The usual “just asking questions” dog whistling.

      1. some old queen

        I think the figures are coming from the world bank, are over a 8 year period and propionate to the recorded number of Nigerians living in Ireland, appears very high.

        Varadkar said that he doesn’t doubt Grealish’s figures btw so make of that what you will.

        He is inferring there is something illegal going on so it is up to the government to investigate. It does look like some sort of money laundering thing mind.

        Let’s see what V has to say.

        This article is from 2013.


        1. ReproBertie

          World bank figures are estimates based on number of citizens in a country and the GDP of that country. The 2013 article is using the same groundless calculations as its starting point.

    2. Janet, I ate my avatar

      exactly SOQ, if you earned it you can roll around naked in it at home if you want to, or send it to your Mammy

  3. garrett

    3.54 billion to Nigeria.
    There are 18,000 Nigerians in Ireland, each has sent over 200,000 out of Ireland.
    That’s some saving, they must live in tents and never eat

    1. some old queen

      I picked this from comments on another site.

      There are an estimated 20,000 Nigerians residing in Ireland. If Grealish’s figures are correct (and Varadkar says he does not dispute them) that is an average of €170,000 for each person sent back over the past 8 years, or a little over €400 each per week. Those figures are astounding when compared with the roughly 120,000 Polish residents who have on average sent back €12,800 over the past 8 year, or €30 each per week.

      1. Cian

        The numbers are bunk. The actual number provided by the CSO is €17m per year to Nigeria = 850 per person per year (or €17 per week).

        Varadkar was giving him the benefit of the doubt in the Dáil – he should be able to trust that a deputy would have their facts straight before asking such a question.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          Where does the CSO get its figures Cian? Are they, like employment/unemployment estimated based on asking 1000 or so respondents? Link?

          1. Cian

            I dunno how they get them. Ask the CSO. Ask broadsheet – they published them at the top of this article.

            Are you suggesting that CSO publish employment figures based on a survey of 1000? Link please.

          2. GiggidyGoo

            Cian – in fact the valid number of ‘households’ is 14323 Q4 2018So the figures are still not real and accurate.
            So, did you see the disclaimers on the CSO website or not (in relation to this particular thread).

          3. Cian

            You haven’t provided evidence that the CSO employment figures are based on asking 1000 people. Or even 14000.

        2. some old queen

          Why such a discrepancy between the world bank and government then? They both can’t be right.

          1. Cian

            Oh. Do they not use estimates? Do they get the raw data from all the banks and financial institutions worldwide?

          2. GiggidyGoo

            As distinct from the CSO estimates, based on what? Figures plucked out of some Irish bankers butt? (you know, stalwarts like the Anglo boyos)

  4. ReproBertie

    The figures Noel Grealish was quoting come from the IMF and World Bank but these are 100% estimates. Countries work them out based on the total remittance a country receives from its overseas citizens, the number of their citizens living in a given country and the GDP per person in that country.

    In 2018 Nigeria had a total remittance from overseas of $24.3bn which it then allocates to various countries based on the citizens and GDP. Ireland’s GDP is, of course, a lie. Ireland’s GDP is over $75K per personas this is inflated by the FDI flowing through our little tax dodge facilitating state. This bogus calculation resulted in Nigeria allocating Ireland a remittance of $539 million for 2018.

    30 seconds research would have shown Noel the figures are nonsense but that wouldn’t have given him the grounds for his dog whistle JAQing off moment.

      1. Cian

        Vardaker didn’t dispute the numbers given to him in an open session of the Dail. He didn’t agree with them.

        Your quote is selective as it relates only to the National Accounts. (Apologies of the remittances are compiles as part of these).

        1. GiggidyGoo

          The definition of remittances, by the way.
          Remittances include cash and noncash items that flow through formal channels such as electronic wire, or through informal channels, such as money or goods carried across borders.

      2. GiggidyGoo

        Just for clarity Cian – he said he ‘didn’t doubt’ the figures. Not he ‘didn’t dispute’ them. Big difference.

          1. italia'90

            Which is why the cso figures are probably much closer to the real number than the World Banks, as you can google the methodology used to see for yourself how wildly innacurate they are

            Do you honestly expect Kylies#1fan to know the personal remittances from Ireland to every country in the world off the top of his head?

      3. ReproBertie

        So we are in agreement that the figures are inaccurate and Grealish should be called on using wildly inaccurate figures to accuse the Nigerian community in Ireland of engaging in fraud and criminality.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          Remittances include cash and noncash items that flow through formal channels such as electronic wire, or through informal channels, such as money or goods carried across borders.
          The WB estimates include the ‘informal’ channels. the CSO doesn’t. Plus if you look at the CSO chart, it has put the same yearly figure in each year for many years. The WB figures change year on year. Why is that? Methodology of the WB – bulloligy of the CSO.
          So we are agreed that both can’t be exactly accurate – however the WB seems to take a more professional methodology in their calculations (not copy-and-paste as the CSO are doing) and for that reason I’d be more leaning to WB figures.

          1. ReproBertie

            You know the WB figures are garbage figures based on estimates and a false GDP but you’d be more leaning towards them. In the face of facts you accept lies. Good to know.

            The point, of course, is that Grealish was wrong to use the bogus figures to single out the Nigerian community for accusations of fraud and criminality with zero evidence to back up his accusation.

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