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Rising prices overtake housing and health as biggest worry

Irish people are also more fearful than most of their EU counterparts 

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Inflation in Ireland slowed to 8.9pc in August, according to Eurostat. Photo: PA

Inflation in Ireland slowed to 8.9pc in August, according to Eurostat. Photo: PA

Inflation in Ireland slowed to 8.9pc in August, according to Eurostat. Photo: PA

Irish people are more worried about the rising cost of living, housing and healthcare than most of their European counterparts.

A large majority (65pc) of Irish people say price hikes are the biggest issue facing the country, compared to 54pc on average across the bloc.

Housing came second in Irish people’s list of concerns (mentioned by 48pc of those surveyed), with healthcare the third most frequently mentioned issue (by 23pc).

Only Czech, Lithuanian and Slovakian people mentioned inflation as their number one concern at a higher rate than Irish people.

Inflation in the three countries is well into double digits. In Lithuania, prices rose more than 21pc in August, year on year. Inflation in Ireland slowed to 8.9pc in August, according to Eurostat.

Luxembourg is the only EU country that saw a higher proportion of people mention housing as a key issue (51pc).

House prices in Luxembourg have more than doubled over the past decade (up 131pc) - the third highest rate in the EU - though rents have risen more slowly (17pc).

In Ireland, rents have surged by 77pc since 2010, according to Eurostat - also the third-highest rate in the EU, after Estonia and Lithuania - while house prices rose by just over 50pc.

Average Irish rents were up 12.6pc in the second quarter of this year, compared to a year earlier, according to property website Daft.ie. 

Central Statistics Office figures show that residential property prices shot up by 14.1pc in the year to June, similar to levels seen at the peak of the Celtic Tiger property bubble in 2007.

Banks believe property prices will continue to soar beyond Celtic Tiger levels in the coming months due to strong demand, particularly from first-time buyers.

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The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland said this week a lack of supply - rather than a growth in mortgage lending, as was the case in 2007 - is the reason for the spike.

The Eurobarometer survey found that almost half (47pc) of Irish people believe price hikes are the most important issue facing the EU.

It is the highest proportion of people in the EU and compares to an average of 34pc across the bloc.

Energy supply is the second most pressing issue for the EU, according to 33pc of Irish people, higher than the EU average of 28pc.

The survey shows Irish people have the most positive view of the EU in the 27-member union, at 70pc. The average across the bloc was 47pc.

Irish people are also the most optimistic about the future of the EU and 90pc are “for” the single currency union, the second-highest proportion after Luxembourg.

However, people here are much more downbeat about the situation of the European and Irish economies than they were last winter, with confidence in each dropping 13 and 16 points respectively.

The survey was carried out between June 17 and July 17 and surveyed at least 1,000 people in each of 39 countries across Europe and the UK.


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