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A new study has found that Ireland has the fifth largest number of billionaires relative to its population of any country in the world.

The report, produced by Oxfam ahead of the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, claims that with 17 billionaires, most of whom are men, Ireland is mirroring the global trend on wealth inequality.

It says this inequality is now out of control, with 2,153 billionaires around the world now owning more wealth than 4.6 billion people who make up 60% of the Earth’s population.

Only Hong Kong, Cyprus, Switzerland and Singapore have more billionaires per capita than Ireland does.

The analysis claims this inequality is trapping millions of people in poverty, with half of the world’s population now living on under €5 a day.

Within this massive group, women are particularly badly impacted, it states, as they do not get properly rewarded for the care work they do.

In looking after children and the elderly, they make a contribution worth $10.8bn a year to the global economy, and €24bn in Ireland.

This is three times the amount of value generated by the technology industry.

Women and girls around the world are putting in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work every day and do more than three-quarters of all such work.

38 million hours of that work is done by women in Ireland.

“Sexist economies are fuelling the inequality crisis – enabling a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes at the expense of ordinary people and particularly women and girls,” according to Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland.

“Our upside-down economic system deepens inequality by chronically undervaluing care work – usually done by women and girls.”

According to Oxfam 2.3 billion people will require care by 2030, up 200 million from 2015, putting further pressure on caregivers.

Oxfam claims the inequality has been fueled by the policies of governments around the world, who have under taxed the wealthiest in society and underfunded the public services and infrastructure necessary to reduce women’s workloads.

Such services include electricity, childcare, public health and sanitation.

Oxfam has called for governments to create fairer systems and crack down on tax loopholes.

If the wealthiest paid 0.5% more in tax on their wealth over the next ten years it could raise enough money to create 117 million jobs.

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