Birth rate is the highest in EU for second year
IRELAND maintained the EU's highest birth rate last year.
New figures show the rate of births here -- at 16.8 children born per 1,000 people -- was the the highest in the European Union.
The report from Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency, says the rate was 17 per 1,000 the previous year -- also the highest in the EU.
The high birth rate kept the overall population growth at 0.13pc.
Birth rates in the UK and France placed them second and third in the EU.
The EU's total population grew by 1.4m in 2009 to 501.1m.
The experience here is the opposite of Germany, the EU's largest economy, where the birth rate was 7.9 per 1,000 last year and the total population declined 0.25pc to below 82m for the first time in at least 10 years.