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Ireland second only to Danes for sky-high prices

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Restaurants and hotels were included in price comparisons

Restaurants and hotels were included in price comparisons

Restaurants and hotels were included in price comparisons

Prices in Ireland are 27pc above the EU average, according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

It said that prices were the second-highest in the EU in 2018, after Denmark.

The CSO published its Measuring Ireland Progress 2018 report, which looked at key trends in Irish society.

Up-to-date information was compiled from a variety of reports and official sources and can include statistics from a number of different years.

Inflation

When it came to prices in Ireland, a wide variety of goods and services would have been compared across Europe.

Food, alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages, tobacco, clothing, footwear, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, hospital services and transport services were among the items compared.

Restaurants and hotels were also included in the price comparisons of goods and services.

Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins told the Herald that there is a lot of competition in the market and blamed the Government over costs.

"Price inflation in our industry can be pointed directly at the Government with regard to the increase in the VAT rate, the increase in labour costs in our sector over the last number of years, and the increase in costs in general of doing business," Mr Cummins said.

"We in our sector have highlighted this to the outgoing Government, that when they increased the VAT rate to 13.5pc, they drove a nail into the coffin of many businesses across this country because it is so unaffordable to run a business at the moment, and that needs to be reviewed by whoever takes the reins of power." He said if the cost of business is not addressed, "Ireland will be the most expensive country to visit for tourists in Europe very, very soon".

Among the other key findings in the report was that Ireland had the highest rate of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) graduates in the EU28 in 2017.

"The proportion of graduates in these disciplines was 32.7 per 1,000 persons aged 20 to 29 in Ireland, while the EU average was 19.3," said senior statistician Declan Smyth.