Jan 20, 2006

Irish still happier than most

IRISH people may not be as happy as they thought. New research indicates that Ireland is the sixth happiest place in the world — well down on the top slot it’s become accustomed to.
Professor Ruut Veenhoven, author of a new “life satisfaction index” and a leading academic expert on happiness, has used data from recent surveys that found Ireland topping the table in quality of life to find out how happy it really is.

“Ireland is a wealthy democratic country which has developed economically,” he said. “It’s also small and typically we see that the average happiness level is higher in small countries, probably because democracy functions on a smaller scale.”

According to Veenhoven, a sociologist at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, people in Ireland are happy because of the healthy economy and good standard of living.
Veenhoven used data from the World Values Survey of 100,000 people in 90 countries who were asked, on a scale of one to 10, how happy they were. He then modified the average according to “equality of happiness”. Nations with wide differences between the happiest and saddest citizens were pushed down the rankings.

This left Ireland in sixth place after Malta, which topped the table, followed by Denmark, Switzerland and Colombia as joint-second, with Iceland in fifth place.

Recent surveys suggest that life in the republic has never been so good. In November 2004, the Economist magazine named Ireland as the best place to live in the world. The country also came out top in the world quality-of-life index, with 42% of Irish people describing themselves as being “very happy”. In the World Values Survey life satisfaction index for 2004, Ireland came second overall.

The roll call of happy tidings continued with last year’s Dublin-based European Foundation for the Improvement for Living and Working Conditions reporting that Irish people are considerably more optimistic and more satisfied with life than the average European. The research also judged happiness levels and found Ireland to be joint-second in Europe, with Finland, after Denmark.

In Veenhoven’s research, Ireland still performs significantly better in the rankings than Britain. It was below 20 other nations, including far poorer countries.

Jan 19, 2006

House Prices in Ireland

The ESRI gives monthly updates on house prices in Ireland. The average figures - as everyone knows is never realistic because it is kept high by the few really expensive houses - but it is the best guide to prices available.
Avg in Dublin NoV 2005 - 365 thousand euro
Avg nationwide incl Dublin - 274 thousand euro
Avg outside Dublin 237 thousand euro

Migrant workers can now claim benefits - Irish Independent

Migrant workers can now claim benefits - Irish Independent
: "WORKERS from the 10 new EU states are entitled to claim social welfare benefits here if they lose their jobs.
The change in the law came after the EU Commission forced the Government to overturn a decision denying the benefits to EU citizens.
Previously the Government had insisted citizens of other EU countries must live in Ireland for at least two years before qualifying for social welfare payments.
This restriction was part of legislation introduced in 2004 amid fears that EU expansion could lead to so-called 'welfare tourism'.
However, the EU Commission questioned the decision on the basis that workers from EU countries must be treated the same, regardless of which EU country they work in.
The law governing social welfare payments was clarified last November, and now workers can claim the supplementary welfare allowance in the event of losing their jobs.
This SWA payment of ?165.80 can also be topped up with rent allowance and an emergency needs payment if necessary. However, a person must have worked here or in their country of origin to benefit.
Previously, if someone's job fell through the person would have no social welfare entitlements. Without independent means, these people were referred to the Department of Justice which would arrange travel home.
'If a job falls apart after a short while, previous to now you wouldn't have had any links to this country and enough contributions to get benefits,' a spokesperson from the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs said. 'Now, under EU law, if you have been a worker here you will now be entitled to supplementary welfare allowance. The idea is you have decided to make Ireland your home and came over to get a job - but something went wrong, as it can do.

Jan 16, 2006

Ireland ranks 3rd in another survey

The Index of Economic freedom is a complex survey involving asessment of things such as wages, prices, government intervention, banking etc etc... Anyway - Ireland came 3rd in the world - not bad (well I hope it's a good thing?) Full survey etc here ...

Index of Economic Freedom 2006 - Search

Jan 7, 2006

Waterford has most violent deaths

Following on from a previous entry about violent killings in Ireland in 2005 - it was a bit of a surprise to see County Waterford having the highest rate of violent killings in 2005 (almost 40 per million) Dublin was only 23 per million while Limerick which has a very bad reputation - was one of the lowest at 5.7 per million people.
Eight counties had no violent killings in 2005 - Mayo Roscommon Longford Leitrim Laois Offaly Kilkenny Cavan.

I don't believe this story!

In the Irish Times yesterday it was reported that (the good news) Belfast City Council have agreed by a one vote margin - to support the St Patricks day festival in 2006. Most of the loyalist parties didn't support it. Sounds good so far - but they have banned alcohol (fair enough), soccer shirts being worn (could be tricky) and they have banned the Irish flag from being flown (the triclolour)!. To top it all - the emblem of the festival will be a rainbow coloured shamrock!! (Not a green one)
Irish flags and green shamrock will be on display in most cities of the world on St Patrick's day - but not in Belfast!
I just thought I would share this bit of news - which to me is a bit shocking.

Murder Rates in Ireland

Recent figures published in the Sunday Tribune in Ireland show that overall - Ireland has had 15.3 "violent deaths" per million of population in 2005. Now these may not all be classed as "murder" - but it's the figures they have provided.
Connacht has the lowest rate of violent killings - at 6.46 per million population (Mayo Galway Roscommon Sligo Leitrim)
Leinster (which includes Dublin) has the highest - at 18.5 per million.

For comparison - average Murder rates for 2002 to 2004 in other countries are shown below. So - Ireland is one of the "safer" countries to live in. Some of the figures from USA and Lithuania are shocking!

Germany 10.9
spain 11.3
Italy 13.3
holland 14.7
England & Wales 17.5
France 17.5
australia 17.8
poland 21.4
Scotland 22.7
czech 25.2
Northern Ireland 28.5
latvia 50.7
usa 55.4
Belgium 71.1
lithuania 104.5
south africa 739