Rising tide of recovery is not lifting all boats
In dealing with statistics it is easy to find coincidences and contradictions that will confuse almost as much as they clarify. So the findings of the latest report from the CSO's Survey on Income and Living Conditions are being welcomed by stockbrokers and attacked by a social campaigner at the same time.
We learn that the number of people suffering "enforced" deprivation fell last year, but fractionally more people were at risk of poverty. Yet economic growth surged last year by 5.2pc - the fastest in Europe. At the same time, 15.7pc of the population went without heating at some stage.
The CSO also found that the 'at risk of poverty' rate was 16.3pc, compared with 15.2pc the previous year.
But separate data from the CSO shows that average weekly earnings had increased by 2.7pc by the end of September.
Davy Stockbrokers was buoyed by the fact the data shows income rose at the fastest pace since the recession began in 2008. While this is to be applauded, there is also a very real story to be told of the have-nots.
Fr Sean Healy reminds us that poverty rising at a time when the economy is improving should be of serious concern. "It appears that the recovery is benefiting those who are better off, but not those on low or middle incomes." If Fr Healy is uneasy, so should the Government be. The rising tide is not lifting all boats.