Despite worrying negative trends, all is far from lost
Ireland's well-being is broadly back to where it was in 2004 and employment is starting to settle, says Marc Coleman
Like 'Swiss navy' or 'gourmet pizza', combining the words 'Ireland', 'progress' and '2009' in the same phrase sounds -- given the year we had last year -- ridiculous. The deranged product of some spin doctor working in Government Buildings? Not so. A report entitled Measuring Ireland's Progress, 2009 does actually exist, courtesy of the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
What's more, some of the things it says appear totally at odds with the country we're reading about in our papers and seeing on television.
Let's start with the seemingly incredulous fact that Ireland's GDP per capita last year was, despite an eight per cent plunge that year, still the second highest in the EU. It was also a staggering 31 per cent higher than the EU average. It's food for thought for anyone who believes the rubbish about the Celtic Tiger having been "blown" entirely. Between 1957 and 1987, it remained at 40 per cent below the EU average, and on this, albeit imperfect, measure, Ireland's well-being is broadly back where it was in 2004.