Michael Clifford: Is inequality improving or worsening in Ireland? – Irish Examiner

You’ve never had it so good. 

So goes one narrative about alleged rising standards of living in the Republic of Ireland. A series of studies and surveys, both national and international, have painted the country in bright colours.

The latest of these was published with little fanfare on December 23. The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) puts Ireland as the second best place on the planet to live, behind Norway and ahead of Switzerland. The UK, our nearest neighbour, doesn’t feature in the top ten.

Last November, UCC economist and former chair of the Fiscal Advisory Council, Seamus Coffey, pointed to data which demonstrates that Ireland has been an outlier in terms of equality over the last 30 years. 

While in every other developed country the gap between rich and poor has widened, it has narrowed in Ireland, at a time when incomes rose. That of itself is a unique

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