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Our nation's best-kept secret: we're actually a great success

Sarah Carey


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We’ve come a long way: A large family of three generations living in the Benburb Street area of Dublin in 1968 – by 2018, Ireland had the second-lowest rate of under-60s being at risk of poverty. Photo by Sunday Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

We’ve come a long way: A large family of three generations living in the Benburb Street area of Dublin in 1968 – by 2018, Ireland had the second-lowest rate of under-60s being at risk of poverty. Photo by Sunday Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Mirrorpix via Getty Images

We’ve come a long way: A large family of three generations living in the Benburb Street area of Dublin in 1968 – by 2018, Ireland had the second-lowest rate of under-60s being at risk of poverty. Photo by Sunday Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

They say economics is a dismal science. That's rather unfair, because while things look bleak at the moment, economics is full of positivity. It's a quirk of human nature that compels us to dwell on the negative. This may seem like the wrong time, but perhaps it's the right time to observe that, both globally and nationally, we've come a long way.

Ireland has a highly progressive tax system, we redistribute income from the wealthy to the poor more than many other countries, we've lowered inequality when it has increased in almost all other OECD countries, and while everyone is talking about low pay, there's a very weak link between low pay and poverty in Ireland.

But almost everything you read and hear tells you the precise opposite.