Ireland is fourth most indebted state in the EU

Despite Ireland’s debt falling by a greater degree than any other EU member state last year, the State is still among the most indebted in Europe.

Eurostat figures illustrate the huge levels of debt the country continues to bear in the aftermath of the economic crisis, with Ireland’s debt to GDP ratio standing at 124.2%.

The country’s level of indebtedness is the fourth worst in the EU behind Greece (176%), Italy (131.8%), and Portugal (131.4%).

The figures did contain some cause for optimism, however, with Ireland’s level of debt experiencing the largest drop in the EU between the third quarter of 2013 and the same period last year.

In that period, the level of sovereign debt reduced by 9.4% as opposed to 8% in Poland and 5% in Luxembourg — the countries with the next greatest reductions.

Quarterly figures also show that government debt in the eurozone fell for the first time in 15 consecutive quarters. It was 92.1% of GDP — down 0.6% — in the third quarter of last year.

The fastest-rising debt in Q3 2014 was in Slovenia (+16.8%), followed by Bulgaria (+6.6%). Member states with the lowest debt over the period were Estonia (10.5%), Luxembourg (22.9%), and Bulgaria (23.6%).

Meanwhile, separate Eurostat data show that Irish companies are among the most innovative in the EU.

Almost 60% of Irish companies recorded innovative activity between 2010 and 2012, making Ireland the third most innovative nation in the EU.

Ireland’s strongest innovative areas were in the manufacturing and financial services sectors, which both significantly outstripped the EU average. Only companies in Germany (66.9%) and Luxembourg (66.1%) innovated more than those in Ireland.

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