Solving problems


A chara, – Fintan O’Toole claims that Ireland is “incapable of solving the most basic problems” (Opinion & Analysis, August 18th). He blames market economics, a reliance on multinational companies, and an acceptance of low standards among the Irish population for this, among other things.

Fintan O’Toole is simply wrong. Ireland has proved itself as one of the very best countries in the world at solving problems and increasing the standard of living of its citizens. The United Nations records our human development as improving year after year, and rates us as the eighth-best nation in the world to live in.

Our average life expectancy has increased by a whole 10 years over the past four decades. Infant mortality has dropped by 80 per cent and our death rate is the lowest in Europe. Cancer survival has improved annually to now match European norms.

The number of students in second-level education has grown by nearly 40 per cent since the early 1970s. The number in third-level is up over 500 per cent.

Our gross national income per head has grown 15-fold to reach the 14th-highest amongst all the nations of the world. Unemployment has reduced to a near-historic low.

And we are happy with our lot. We rate ourselves as the 14th-happiest nation on the planet in this year’s “World Happiness Report”.

Our economic approach has worked well to provide the resources that have been invested in improving the health and welfare of our citizens.

Of course there is more to be done; as your columnist highlights, our record in addressing climate change is utterly shameful. However, the characterisation of Ireland as a “dysfunctional State” is complete nonsense and is disrespectful to the people in the civic, political and public service spheres who work daily to deliver genuine progress for all. – Is mise,



Co Dublin.