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