Number of Irish millionaires soars
Ireland's millionaires' row bucked the trend of downturn last year as savvy investors used the stock market to boost their wealth, one of the world's biggest finance houses has claimed.
The number of big earners with more than one million US dollars (814,640 euro, £676,200) to spend increased by almost 2,000 to 18,100 by the end of the year.
It was the first rise in the number of super-rich in the country for two years.
According to financial giant Merrill Lynch and consultancy firm Capgemini, Ireland is still a minnow on the global scale with just 0.2% of what the US bank calls the world's High Net Worth Individuals.
Nick Tucker, the bank's head of global wealth management, said the stock market had proved a big winner for game investors as it outstripped the failing economy and property slump.
"People have impressive investments in the stock market that when weighed up had a stronger influence than the negative influence of the GDP and house prices," he said.
"That was from a very low level in 2008. It decreased dramatically in 2008 and while it does not feel like it, there are more wealthy people now than there actually were then."
The study records the wealth of anyone who has more than 1 million US dollars in cash and assets excluding their primary residence and jewellery, art or other collectables.
The number of millionaires in Ireland peaked in 2007 at 20,400 before falling by more than 4,000 in 2008, only to rise to 18,100 last year - about 1% of the global total.
GDP contracted by approximately 7% in 2009 and house prices by about 11%, while the stock market soared by 24% from a very low level after a damaging 2008.