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Friday 24 March 2017

Recession impact laid bare in progress report

The full extent of the recession was laid bare today in a report measuring Ireland's social and economic progress.

Officials figures showed the unemployment rate was the sixth highest across Europe last year, while economic growth fell sharply and government debt rose steeply to nearly two-thirds of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Elsewhere the study - Measuring Ireland's Progress 2009 - revealed the productivity of those still in work, measured by GDP per person employed, was about a third higher than the EU average.

"As Irish employees work longer hours, the productivity per hour worked is relatively lower, but still about 4pc above the EU average," it added.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) noted that despite 4.2pc of the population remaining in consistent poverty in 2009 Ireland boasted the biggest baby boom in the EU.

The report confirmed Ireland had the lowest divorce and highest fertility rate in the EU, with the population increasing by 17.7pc to 4.46 million between 2000 to 2009.

It also had the highest proportion of young people aged under 14 years, and the lowest proportion of pensioners.

While the pupil-teacher ratio at primary level in Ireland was high by EU standards, the number of the early school-leavers is better than average. Student numbers also rose in 2009, particularly at third-level.

On housing the report said the number of dwelling units built peaked at almost 90,000 in 2006 before collapsing to about 26,400 in 2009, the level that prevailed before the mid-1990s.

"The average value of a new housing loan in Ireland rose from €92,000 in 1999 to €270,000 in 2008," it added.

And focusing on crime, it showed sexual offences dropped by a fifth and killings were down by one tenth over the four-year period to 2008 - the number of murders/manslaughters recorded in Ireland decreased from its peak of 84 in 2007 to 55.

Elsewhere the CSO reported a rise in most other categories recorded increases, including controlled drug offences (plus 137pc), weapons and explosive offences (plus 86pc), and road and traffic offences (plus 79pc).

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