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IRELAND is still one of the most expensive countries in Europe, new research has identified.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said that prices were 15pc higher than the EU average.

But the CSO's Measuring Ireland's Progress Report for 2012 found that it is down considerably from 2008 when Irish prices were the second highest in the EU.

The study also includes crime figures – which show that from 2008 until 2012 the number of sexual offences rose by 50pc, while the number of murders fell by more than 40pc.