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Monday 25 June 2018

Post-recession Ireland is still third-dearest place to live in EU

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Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Ireland is the third most expensive EU country to live in - even after emerging from the recession.

The 'Measuring Ireland's Progress' report 2014 released yesterday by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) provides a snapshot of the social, economic, educational, health and environmental situation in Ireland and in the EU member states between 2010 and 2014.

It found that Ireland and Finland were the joint third most expensive EU countries in which to live in 2014, and that we and the Finns paid almost a quarter (22.3pc) more for goods and services on average than anywhere else in the member states, bar Sweden and Denmark.

Only Switzerland and Norway, which are not in the EU, ranked even higher in terms of cost of living.

However, Irish people paid even more above the odds in the dying days of the Celtic Tiger - in early 2008 prices here were 30pc above the EU average and the second highest in Europe, the report reveals.

The only consolation is it could have been worse. Our rate of inflation was the third lowest in Europe between 2010 and 2014.

At the same time, we were among the hardest working nations in 2014, when the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per person was 44pc higher than the EU average and was the second highest in Europe.


In terms of families, Ireland had the second highest fertility rate between 2003 and 2013 at 1.96 births per couple, exceeded only by the French at 1.99.

More than a third of births here (35.1pc) took place outside of marriage, while more than half of French babies (56.7pc) were born out of wedlock.

Ireland also had the lowest divorce rate in Europe over the same period at just 0.6 per 1,000 population, compared with the Latvians, who led Europe's divorce rate at 3.5 per 1,000 population.

When it comes to crime, we were more likely to be the victims of property crimes or public order offences rather than violent crimes between 2009 and 2014.

Theft topped the most recent list of all recorded crimes in Ireland at 77,730 in 2014, followed by public order offences (32,629) and burglary and related offences (27,575).

Homicide was the least common offence committed in 2013 with 80 killings, followed by 125 kidnappings in that year.t

There was also a disturbing increase in the number of sexual offences, which jumped 40pc from 1,480 recorded offences in 2009 to 2,065 in 2014.

In the detection of justice, the odds favoured the criminal rather than the gardaí when it came to property crimes.

Only 20pc of burglaries committed in 2014 were detected by gardaí, while the detection rate for damage to property was 22pc.

Just a third of thefts were detected (33pc) and less than half (42pc) of cases of fraud or deception were solved.

The detection rate was marginally better for sexual offences at 51pc, followed by a 62pc rate for attempted murder or death threats, assaults and harassment, and a 63pc rate for kidnappings.

But the clearance rates for more easily detected crimes, such as speeding and other road traffic offences, were 100pc and 99pc respectively, and there was a 93pc detection rate for public order offences.

Gardaí also recorded a 99pc detection rate for controlled drug offences and offences against government.

For murder and other acts of homicide, the detection rate was 84pc, with a 90pc rate for weapons and explosive offences.

Meanwhile, the statistics also show how the the current housing shortage and homelessness crisis were evident back in 2013.

Despite a peak of close to 90,000 dwellings being built in 2006, the total number of dwelling units completed fell to just 8,300 in 2013 and 11,016 in 2014.

By comparison, 13,887 dwellings were completed in 1970.

The average mortgage drawn down also dropped by a third from €270,200 in 2008 to €180,500 in 2014.

Irish Independent

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