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We have worst quality of life in Europe -- poll

IRELAND is the worst place to live in Europe when it comes to quality of life.

We are trailing a long way behind France and Spain, who come out on top, a new survey claims.

The study by uSwitch.com examined 16 factors to understand where Ireland sits in relation to eight other major European countries.

Variables such as net income, VAT, and the cost of essential items, such as fuel, food and energy bills were examined.

Lifestyle factors, such as hours of sunshine, holiday entitlement, working hours and life expectancy were all factored in "to provide a picture of the quality of life experienced in each country," said uSwitch.com, a price comparison website.

Ireland finished behind the UK to end up bottom of the pile when 10 countries were ranked according to household income after taxes, VAT, goods and services, average working hours; hours of sunshine per year, retirement age, number of holidays per year, education and health spending as a percentage of gross domestic product were taken into account.

However, there was some consolation for Ireland with the UK now lagging behind Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark when it comes to net household income.


Ann Robinson, of the British website, said: "Last year, compared with our European neighbours, we were miserable but rich. This year we're miserable and poor."

Ireland also ranked tenth when the website examined each country's fuel, comparing the prices of unleaded petrol, diesel, gas, as well as the cost of electricity, alcohol, food, cigarette prices and life expectancy.

The survey found:

  • The Irish can expect to die almost a year sooner, at 78.41 years, compared to the European average of 79.342,

  • Cigarette prices in Ireland were also the highest of the 10 countries examined and at €8.40 far ahead of the European average of €5 for 20.

  • The Irish also got less sunshine than any of the other 10 -- just 1,397 hours per year, compared with 2,665 for Spain or the European average of 1,777.

  • We also retire later, at 64.1 years, compared to the European average of 61.975.

  • The amount we spend on education, 4.9pc of GDP, is less than the European average of 5.59pc, far behind Sweden's 7pc.

France, which topped the index for the second-year running, enjoys the earliest retirement age (59.3, with Poland), spends the most on healthcare (11pc of GDP) and has the longest life expectancy in Europe.

Its workers also benefit from 36 days holidays a year, compared with 32 in Ireland and just 28 in the UK.