Ireland’s cost of living soars above EU average as new report reveals just how much prices are rising

Prices here are 40pc higher than the average across the European UnionIrish people forking out more on food, drink, energy, transport and restaurantsHealthcare costs highest in EU

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Charlie Weston

THE high cost of living in this country has been laid bare by new figures that show that prices in this country are the joint highest in the 27-member union.

Prices here are 40pc higher than the average across the European Union.

And the gap between what is charged here and on the Continent is widening.

Irish people pay far more than the EU average for food, drink, energy, transport, communications and restaurants, according to a new report from Eurostat.

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Healthcare costs here are the highest in the EU.

It comes as prices are rocketing at rates not seen for four decades, putting massive pressures on family budgets.

The new report from the European statistics agency shows overall prices are 40pc higher in this country compared with the average in the EU.

Prices in Ireland are jointly in the highest in the 27-member European Union with Denmark.

Ireland has the highest prices for alcohol and tobacco.

This country is the third most expensive for food and non-alcohol beverages, with prices on average here 19pc above the EU average.

Health costs are the most expensive in the EU, at a staggering 72pc above average.

Combined housing costs such as rents, mortgage rates, gas and electricity, are again the most expensive at 89pc above the EU average.

Communications costs here are 46.5pc above the EU average.

Transport services are 39pc above the EU average, with energy 15pc higher than the average.

Restaurant and hotel prices are 29.5pc higher than average.

There have been persistent accusations of price gouging in the hospitality sector here as a shortage of staff and attempts by the industry to make up for losses during Covid have meant prices have surged, especially for hotel rooms.

Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site said: “No-one is under the illusion that Ireland is a cheap place to live. However, the scale of the difference in prices between Ireland and our neighbours is pretty shocking.”

He said the fact that the price differential is getting worse, does not bode well for our competitiveness.

“In 2016, prices in Ireland were 29pc above the EU average. But this gap has risen every year since.”

He said that wages in Ireland are also above the EU average, but not by over 40pc for most people.

“I would urge the Government to look at measures that are within its control to lower the impact of high prices and the cost of living in Ireland.

Mr Cassidy said that 23pc, our rate of Vat is among the highest in the world.

Charges for GPs visits and hospital stays lead to us having the highest health costs in the EU, he said.

“Meanwhile we have astronomical childcare costs. While Government stamp duty leads to higher car insurance and home insurance.”

He said consumer bodies such as the CCPC, and regulators such as the CRU for energy and ComReg for telecommunications need to do better jobs and stand up for consumers more.

“If they need more powers to enforce laws and bring prices down, they should demand them,” Mr Cassidy said.

“I would also like to see a new ministerial position for consumer affairs created. We rightly have a huge focus on business and enterprise in almost all areas of government in this country. But that same focus isn’t extended to consumers.”