Ireland punching above its weight in ‘goodness’, report suggests

State contributes more to prosperity and equality of world than any other country

 The Irish flag is lowered outside the GPO by Army personnel last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Irish flag is lowered outside the GPO by Army personnel last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


Ireland contributes more to the prosperity and equality of the world than any other country relative to the size of its economy, a new report has stated.

Overall, Ireland is ranked seventh in the latest Good Country index, up from 11th in 2016. It is behind the Netherlands which finished first followed by Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden. All the countries in the top 10 are European. Canada (14) is the highest ranked non-European country.

Ireland was ranked first in the annual Good Country index as the state which contributes the most to global prosperity. It was second in the world in terms of its contribution to global health and wellbeing.

The index was started by the Good Country movement, a London-based think tank, three years ago to measure the impact countries have in general on the world across a range of indices.

Ireland was ranked overall first in the world in 2015, a result which was greeted with derision in some circles by those who conflated being the country that is best for the world with being in the best country in the world.

Good Country founder Simon Anholt said Ireland made the greatest contribution to global prosperity because it scored better than average on all the relevant criteria.

Ireland is an open trader, its contribution to development aid is above average as is the number of UN volunteers it produces.

It scored best on foreign direct investment (FDI) outflows and on the amount it spent on Fairtrade products.

Mr Anholt said FDI outflows included not only those from multinationals based in Ireland, but Irish companies based worldwide.

Ireland’s ranking as second in the world in terms of health and wellbeing (behind Sweden) was a result of also scoring highly on the five constituent indices - food aid, pharmaceutical exports, voluntary excess donations to the World Health Organisation (WHO), humanitarian aid donations and international health regulations compliance.

Ireland was eighth in the world in terms of its contribution to world culture, 10th for planet and climate, 21st for its global contribution to the world order, 32nd for science and technology and 50th in terms of international peace and security.

Ireland fared badly in terms of international peace and security because of its involvement in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

“My message to the country that gets into the top 20 is that they should not obsess about their specific ranking,” Mr Anholt explained.

“The difference between 1st and 10th is minuscule in the real world. Being in the top 20 is cause for a certain amount of self-congratulation, but it also implies an obligation as to how people can spread that effect.

“After a small pat on the back, countries at the top should be asking about how countries at the bottom of the index can learn from their experience.”