Ireland has been ranked the second-most peaceful country in Europe and third in the world, according to the latest Global Peace Index.

Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the GPI ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.

Iceland has been ranked the most peaceful country in the world, followed by New Zealand and Ireland, which was ranked eighth last year.

Denmark, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Czechia and Singapore complete the top ten list globally.

Europe remains the most peaceful region and is home to four of the five most peaceful countries in the world.

Iceland once again tops the list in Europe followed by Ireland, which is up from seventh place in the region last year.

Denmark, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary and Finland make up the remaining top ten most peaceful countries in Europe.

The Global Peace Index has found that peacefulness has fallen in the past 14 years, with the average country score deteriorating by 3.2%.

Of the 163 countries, 84 recorded deteriorations, while 77 recorded improvements and two recorded no change in their score.

Predictably, the largest regional deterioration in peacefulness was Russia and Eurasia, followed by North America.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine led to a large rise in the number of conflict deaths, as well as sharp deteriorations in indicators such as refugees and internally displaced people, political instability and political terror.

The Ukrainian conflict has caused a large displacement of Ukrainian citizens, with the country now featuring among the ten worst scores for refugees and internally displaced persons.

Other conflicts also influenced the fall in peacefulness, with political and economic instability resulting in five coups occurring within the past year.

These took place in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Chad, Sudan and Mali.

The index has also found that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on both the US and Canada, with Canada reaching over 3.7 million cases and the US recording over 82m cases as of April 2022.

The pandemic continues to hamper economic and social activity in both countries, with both countries recording a deterioration in political terror and violent demonstrations indicators since the beginning of the pandemic.