Republic is a better place to live…

The title for the ESRI new study is nicely balanced. Best of Times?, recalls Dickens’ famous opening lines to his novel, A Tale of Two Cities. Though according to Carl O’Brien last Friday, it’s not quite as ambivalent as that inestimable literary work when it comes to a judgement about the current state of social wellbeing in the Republic:

The editors of the book, Prof Tony Fahey, Dr Helen Russell and Prof Christopher T. Whelan, suggest the pessimistic view regarding the social consequences of the economic boom may be due to anecdotes and exaggeration substituting for hard facts.

“It is not true that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer,” they said. “It is more accurate to say that the gap between the top and bottom of the social ladder has failed to narrow. It helps that the entire ladder has been raised onto higher ground.”

He goes on to enumerate the reports conclusions:

• Social mobility has increased as more people from modest backgrounds ascend into white-collar occupations.

• Poverty and deprivation rates have declined, although income inequality remains wide.

• The stresses of too much work and of juggling job and family life are less socially damaging than the stresses of too little work.

• Social support networks and attachments to communities remain strong. The image of masses of people lost and isolated in anonymous housing estates is belied by how settled and at home people feel in the new suburbs.

• People are marrying and having children at a higher rate than 15 years ago.

• National morale is among the highest in Europe.

It was launched by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. You can find his ‘spin’ on the book here.


  • Nevin

    “As the book points out, we have a distinct welfare state model in Ireland which differs from both the Nordic or continental models, and the Anglo-Saxon approach.” … The Gospel according to Bart

    Anglo-Saxon? Perhaps he ought to get a new scriptwriter 😉

  • Frank Sinistra

    Though as Kale of Poverty New blog notes:

    “The findings come after a study undertaken by the CPA and the Economic and Social Research Institute, found that poverty and poor health are interlinked.

    It shows that the pattern of health in the population closely follows the pattern of social inequalities in terms of income, education, social class and poverty.”

    So the disparity in the health of the haves and the have much lesses continues. And the government plan to deal with this? Colocation not medical cards. Life just gets better and healthier for those haves.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fránclin

    Republic is a better place to live…

    Yes, indeed it is….and it’s getting better everyday!

  • snakebrain

    Doesn’t this come under the “No shit Sherlock” category of stories?

  • sammaguire

    It’s rumoured there’s a chap living near me on the dole. Another chap moans that he can’t afford private insurance (costs less than two pints a week!). Of course same chap hits the Continent for the hols twice a year. All Bertie’s fault of course.