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Ireland as a nation ranked a C+ in terms of our overall satisfaction with life. Life in Ireland is great, and not-so-great, says Hazel Hill.

 VitalSigns is a report card on the vitality of the nation. The organisation has spent an unusual amount of time questioning people about how they feel about several areas of life. So here is how Ireland fared.

The Results

Not surprisingly for the land of ‘saints and scholars’ eight out of the top ten priorities revolved around education with the ‘quality of the education system’ ranking in number one. Ireland is above the European average in terms of people who have attained a post- secondary education. Irish women aged 30-34 have the highest rate of post- secondary educational attainment in Europe. So Irish people are clearly concerned about not allowing any slips in our high record of educational achievement.



Work, equality and financial wellbeing was one of the issues that received the lower grade of a C minus. One citizen commented, “Work-life balance is under threat with employers constantly asking more of employees…it’s dangerous as now with so much unemployment workers’ rights can be pushed to the back with the attitude, ‘well you have a job’”.



There were similar feelings towards other aspects of life such as safety with one out of ten people in Ireland feeling that their home place was unsafe. The areas of Child safety and home life for children and young people was also cast in a dark light with citizens feeling that a lot more work in this area was needed. Youth unemployment in Ireland is rated as the sixth highest in Europe.




Despite these concerns there were many positives highlighted in the report. One area in particular receiving the highest ranking at a B minus is Arts and Culture. One respondent commented that, “We have great festivals all around the country of all sorts, music, theatre, literature, arts and many free activities. Our museums and heritage sites have really improved and are excellent. This is an area where access is a lot easier than some areas. These festivals are great fun!”




VitalSigns Ireland have copied the format for this report from the founders in Toronto, Canada. The Canadians wanted to identify significant trends to help them create an environment in which community issues are recognised so voluntary organisations could be mobilised quickly to help create a higher standard of living.

Ireland VitalSigns is still in its infancy in comparison to the Canadian VitalSigns initiative who have already seen some amazing benefits from launching VitalSigns in various regions around Canada. Ireland was the first country outside of Canada to initiate the project so are not far behind them in terms of success.

One of the reasons that Vital Signs is attracting both national and worldwide coverage is that it is not simply another bucket or form requiring your credit card details being thrust in your face while shopping on Henry street. The report is a recording the pulse of the nation, listening to the actual needs of the public. They then present this information in a way that philanthropists can donate the necessary funds for improvement. So if you feel that there are other important issues that need to be looked at, keep an eye on the VitalSigns website.



Hazel Hill is a recent graduate of DCU where she received a B.A in Contemporary Culture and Society. She is currently a research intern working on the latest VitalSigns Ireland report.


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