Prices fall but Ireland remains dearer than eurozone average

Forfás report shows health care 35 per cent more than average in 18 member states

Ireland remains among the most expensive countries in the eurozone with Irish consumers paying 14 per cent more than average for a range of essential goods and services, according to a Forfás report to be published tomorrow.

Ireland remains among the most expensive countries in the eurozone with Irish consumers paying 14 per cent more than average for a range of essential goods and services, according to a Forfás report to be published tomorrow.

Sun, Feb 2, 2014, 15:11

Ireland remains among the most expensive countries in the eurozone with Irish consumers paying 14 per cent more than average for a range of essential goods and services, according to a Forfás report to be published tomorrow .

At the height of the boom, the Republic was the most expensive country in the single currency area but over the four years of the downturn it dropped two places to third, the policy advisory board for enterprise and trade has found.

It examined prices over the period 2008 to 2012 and then compared them to the 18 eurozone members and while prices in the Republic have fallen, they are on average almost 14 per cent higher than the eurozone average with Ireland remaining the most expensive state for healthcare as well as tobacco and alcohol.

The report shows that food prices did not rise over the course of the recession while clothes and shoes fell by an average of 5 per cent.

The cost of education climbed by almost 6 per cent while the cost of health insurance increased by more than 14 per cent annually in the Republic compared with a 2.5 per cent rise each year across the eurozone.

The cost of taking public transport increased by 5 per cent every year between 2008 and 2012, compared with annual increases of 3.5 per cent in other eurozone countries.

The report found that Irish people have to pay almost 35 per cent more for health care than the average across the 18 member-states while the Republic was most expensive when it comes to alcohol and tobacco prices.

In addition to comparing prices, Forfás has submitted a number of recommendations to the Government which are aimed at boosting competitiveness.

Among its proposals are a call for legislation to be introduced which would allow people change health insurer halfway through their cover period without being hit with financial penalties. It also wants more competition on urban bus routes and believes third level students could be asked pay for a portion of their education costs after they graduate and find employment.