THE old adage about lies, damned lies and statistics came to mind recently as yet another Irishman ran into problems in Australia.
Just as the government claims credit for the decline in violent crime in Ireland, some poor police commissioner down under is probably getting into trouble for a spike in violent crime in his district.
The reason is pretty obvious in both cases; the departure of hundreds of thousands of young men from these shores to Australia and other parts of the world.
The same wave of emigration is also almost certainly responsible for another apparent government triumph; the startling fall in road fatalities in recent years.
The government has recently played host to road safety experts from Europe anxious to understand how we managed to get some of the safest roads in Europe and push down road fatalities to 162 last year from 186 in 2011 and 212 in 2010.
Next month, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar will host a conference on the topic and we will doubtless hear all sorts of guff about strategies and campaigns.
Sadly, the truth is likely to be more mundane; emigration. When 70pc of road deaths are male and 30pc are under 24, it is obvious that the departure of so many young men will play an important role in the falling death rate.
That, coupled with sky high insurance costs and a very high unemployment rate among young people still living here, probably accounts for the rest.
The Government is coy about this sort of data. The Department of the Environment failed to respond to a request for some simple information about the number of young people sitting driving tests these days, but any honest discussion of crime or road deaths cannot ignore the massive changes that have taken place in our population over the past few years.