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We're still among Europe's happiest

THE Irish are among Europe's happiest people -- despite the bank bailouts, job losses and less money in our pockets.

A new Eurobarometer survey found that 91pc of those questioned were "very" or "fairly satisfied" with the life they lead, the sixth highest in the EU and well above the EU average of 81pc.

We came behind the Finns and Swedes (97pc), Denmark and Luxembourg (96pc) and the Netherlands (95pc).

Just two countries scored less than 50pc on the happiness level -- Bulgaria (48pc) and Romania (49pc).

The Irish are also an optimistic lot, the survey found, with one quarter of us (25pc) expecting their general life situation to get better in the next 12 months. Only 9pc of us expect things to get worse, which is below the EU average of 14pc.



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The Swedes were the most optimistic Europeans about the next year (45pc), and not surprisingly, the Greeks, at just 7pc, were the least optimistic.

But all is not rosy in the Irish garden, the somewhat contradictory survey results found, with many of us worried about the economy, healthcare and the cost of energy;

•Just 4pc of us were satisfied with the national economy (95pc unsatisfied), compared to an EU average of 30pc. But at least our outlook is better than Greece (0pc), Latvia, Portugal and Spain (all 3pc). The Germans were the most optimistic about their national economy, at 80pc;

•45pc were satisfied with our personal job situation, lower than the EU average of 56pc;

•A mere 3pc of Irish people were satisfied when it comes to the national employment situation, compared to an EU average of 24pc. We just beat the Greek figure of 2pc;

•When it comes to overall satisfaction with healthcare provision, Ireland, at 42pc, was below the EU average of 62pc.

mlavery@herald.ie