Wednesday, February 11, 2015

GetRealFrance on the Claire Byrne Show

On Monday night, Suzanne, my sister and I were invited to be in the audience of the Claire Byrne show on RTE. They wanted us to give our opinion on the taxation system in France compared to the system in Ireland. Eamonn Dunphy had put together the report, after spending 25 years on and off in France ( ie he has a holiday home in Deauville and visits there sporadically - can he even speak French? ) Why, he would be chosen as the expert on France is questionable ...
Claire Byrne with Suzanne and I

Anyway, Paul Murphy of the Anti Austerity Alliance had been arrested on Monday and Claire was given the scoop to interview him, so I'm guessing that the French v Ireland debate was pushed aside for this and we didn't have a whole lot of time to discuss the issue. In fact when the 'debate' ended, Claire noted that we could have debated for at least another this is all the stuff we didn't get to say!

Eamonn's report was about comparing the lives of an Irish family living in France and an Irish family living in Ireland. In his model, both families were earning approximately the same ( in my 12 years living in France, I didn't know anyone earning 78,000euros per annum but anyway....). His angle was that the French get a lot more bang for their buck with a much better health system and excellent child care. While he is right on both counts, nobody is going to argue with that , his argument did not take into account the comparative low wages in France and the massive social charges one has to pay. There are also additional costs like taxe fonciere (rates) and taxe d'habitation (poll tax) and water charges ( there are no allowances!!!). These social charges, income tax and other taxes, when added up, count for nearly 75% of your income.

We had to leave France because we couldn't survive and we are among hundreds of thousands doing so. If France is as wonderful as Dunphy makes out, why are there so many of it's bright educated youngsters and entrepreneurs leaving? The main obstacle to French people with a bit of get up and go to leaving the country is the language barrier - those that have some ambition and can speak English are leaving in droves - London is now France's 5th city in terms of French population. French speaking Canada is also a popular choice.

Why are they leaving? They are leaving because extreme socialism stinks - the joy has been taken out of their lives as most of their hard earned money goes back into the state coffers. Hollande has totally exasperated the situation, inventing new taxes at every corner to pay for his idealistic socialist notions.

Irish people do have to pay for their child care and the medical system may not be as good as in France - but in my opinion, there is no way the Irish person be prepared to pay the same amount of tax and social charges as their French neighbours...

In short, someone has to pay for all these wonderful social benefits and that someone is the average earning middle class person. The disposable income in France is far lower than it is in Ireland.
Nowhere is perfect, I love France and had a wonderful time there, but I'll take my chances in Ireland where 'capitalism' is not a dirty word and you are encouraged to work and to get on in life. France's strain of extreme socialism is bordering on communism. C'est la verité

 See the following chart from the OECD;

The following average wage statistics is adjusted to purchasing power parities (PPP), i.e. the wage levels reported are adjusted downwards in high-cost countries, and upwards in low-cost countries. By this measure, the United States and Switzerland have the highest relative wage levels.

rankCountryDisposable income
in 2012 USD
deduction[2][not in citation given]
Gross income
in 2012 USD
(PPP)[3][dead link]

1 United States44,75329.6%55,047
2 Ireland38,21025.9%51,565
3 Luxembourg33,37336.6%52,639
4 Australia33,31932.9%49,655
5  Switzerland32,06639.8%53,265
6 Canada31,50130.8%45,521
7 United Kingdom29,93832.3%44,222
8 South Korea29,03821.0%36,757
9 Norway28,54338.5%46,410
10 Denmark27,42439.1%45,031
11 Japan23,48631.2%34,137
12 Austria22,81348.9%44,644
13 Finland22,54842.5%39,214
14 Sweden22,51243.0%39,494
15 Netherlands22,06452.7%46,646
16 Germany21,18749.7%42,121
17 Belgium20,89456.0%47,487
18 Israel20,79527.6%28,722
19 Spain20,23241.4%34,525
20 France19,72150.2%39,600
21 Croatia18,57542.3%32,193
22 Italy16,78950.4%33,849
23 Greece15,14241.9%26,062
24 Portugal14,62136.7%23,098
25 Poland12,58240.4%21,110
26 Czech Republic11,63743.2%20,487
27 Slovakia11,47943.2%20,210
28 Estonia10,64241.6%18,222
29 Hungary10,28849.4%20,332


  1. So great to find your site/articles.
    I'm in the same shoes you were in when you pulled your hair out about moving back to ireland.
    My current stage is looking at flats in dublin, and thinking how lacking in charm they are compared to my current lot in the old town of antibes. Also the recruiting agent told me it's 6 degrees in dublin today, and I am sitting here in my office in a t-shirt and the sun is blazing down outside.

    It's such a horrible conflict when everyone says you are mad to leave, when you know in your soul, that what matters is not the weather, but the people around you.

  2. Hi there, thanks for your comment - I empathise with you and it isn't an easy decision ... hand on heart though, I have no regrets at all about moving back to Ireland although I do feel like I have won the lotto with our choice of location in Clonakilty.
    Drop me a line on my email if you want to chat - karenoreily@hotmail,com


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