Ireland was the only country in the European Union to experience a decrease in inflation between 2008 and 2012, but prices remain high by EU standards.

The findings are contained in a report, Measuring Ireland's Progress 2012, which was published by the CSO today.

Ireland was the fifth most expensive EU state in 2012, after Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg with prices 15% above the EU average.

However, it marked a considerable improvement on 2008 when Irish prices were the second highest in the EU, at 30% above the EU average.

The public balance deficit was the third highest of any EU member state at just over 8% of GDP in 2012.

Government debt increased to 117.4% of GDP, having been at only 44.2% of GDP in 2008.

Ireland's employment rate was the fifth lowest in the EU in that year, and its unemployment rate was the fifth highest in the EU.

The productivity of the Irish workforce remained above the EU average.

The report also contains statistics on population movements, economic indicators, social cohesion and services as well as statistics on crime and the environment.