Despite our money woes we're still tops at giving to charities
IRISH people are still the most likely to generously donate to charities, despite our economic woes.
The annual 'World Giving Index' calculated that Ireland had the highest figure of all countries for handing money to charity in the past month – with 79pc of people reporting they had dipped into their pockets to help good causes.
There were still plenty of 'Good Samaritans' in 2011, as the figures revealed 66pc of Irish people had come to the aid of a stranger.
Volunteering was still going strong with a third of people giving up their time to help charities or sporting events.
Overall, the index calculated that Australia was the most generous country on earth, followed by Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.
Australia was found to be 'most generous' overall as it had the highest average score across the three 'giving' measures used to calculate the index – with 76pc of people giving money to good causes in the past month, 37pc volunteering their time and 67pc helping a stranger.
The executive director of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), Paul Rees, said it was "excellent" that Ireland topped the global list of people most likely to give to charity, especially in the tough economic climate.
"Generosity is clearly very strong in Ireland, as despite the fact that so many people have been grappling with the prevailing economic situation for a long time now, the nation was second in last year's report as well," he said.
Mr Rees described it as "humbling" that hundreds of millions of people worldwide donated time and money to help strangers.
Yet, the report found charity donations were mirroring the economic climate, with the average proportion of the 155,000 people in 146 countries surveyed who donated in the past month falling from just over 29pc in 2007 to 28pc in 2011.
The figures show there has been a 'double dip' in charity giving, with monies dropping in 2009, before recovering, only to fall again sharply last year.
Charities in Ireland have also been affected by the downturn, with children's charity Barnardos revealing it plans to close services for a second week in 2013 to save money amid an escalating cash crisis.
And the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) confirmed that 2012 had been a "fairly difficult" year for donations.