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Ireland has reduced the number of early school leavers, Eurostat finds

Ireland is on its way to meeting its targets in some areas, but more work is needed to tackle poverty and social inclusion.

NEW EUROSTAT FIGURES reveal that Ireland has reduced the number of early school leavers and performed well in reaching European 2020 targets.

In the 18-24 population, 9.7 per cent left education or training early in 2011. This is 1.7 percent behind the Europe target of 8 per cent.

Targets

Ireland is also only slightly behind the European target for 30-34 age group to hold a third level degree. Of that age group, 51.5 per cent had a third level qualification, while the European 2020 target is 60 per cent.

In terms of Ireland’s employment rate, the Eurostat figures show that 63.7 per cent of the working age population was in employment, behind the Europe 2020 target of 75 per cent. Nevertheless, the country was still closer to its employment commitments for 2020 than the EU average.

Reseach and Development spending reached 1.72 per cent in 2012, which the Eurostat survey says moves Ireland closer to the national target of 2 per cent sending of GDP.

While Ireland was praised for those improvements, the figures shows that Ireland is falling behind in some areas.

Ireland lagged behind the EU average in the areas of climate change and energy, with the share of renewable energies at 6.7 per cent of energy consumption, a 9.3 percentage point distance from the Europe 2020 target of 16 per cent

In 2011, Ireland was also the country furthest from its national poverty reduction target, implying that an additional 455,000 people need to be lifted out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion by 2016.

Read: Fee-paying students more likely to go straight to college>

Poll: Should a percentage of new jobs be set aside for certain sections of society?>

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