Tuesday, June 24 11:44:57
Our weather is (normally) rubbish, our politicians disappoint and we're not even in the World Cup but Ireland has been ranked as the best country in the world.
That's according to a new survey, the Good Country Index, which measures what 125 nations contribute to the planet and humanity.
Conceived by policy adviser Simon Anholt, it analyses 35 different types of data from the UN, the World Bank and other international organisations and NGOs to come up with a qualitative assessment of a country's "goodness" with Ireland taking the top spot ahead of the likes of the UK, which came in seventh place and the US, which ranked 21st.
Mr Anholt said the intention behind the index was to "measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. Using a wide range of data from the UN and other international organisations, we've given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it's a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between."
He stressed that his survey was not intended to name and shame individual countries but to recognise the importance of contributing to the greater good in a globalised society. "Do (countries) exist purely to serve the interests of their own politicians, businesses and citizens, or are they actively working for all of humanity and the whole planet," he asked.
The list assesses the size of a country's economy and its global contributions to science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, the planet and climate, prosperity and equality as well as the health and well-being of humanity.
Ireland claimed the number one spot in the 'Equality and Prosperity' category and it was ranked fourth when it came to 'World Order,' seventh in 'Culture,' and ninth in the 'Health and Wellbeing' category.
The news wasn't so great in the 'Science and Technology' category where Ireland came 20th while the country was 33rd in the 'International Peace and Security' category. The top spot in that particular section was Egypt. In the 'Planet and Climate' section Ireland was ranked a poor 45th.
While the US likes to consider itself top dog, it was dragged down to 21st place thanks to poor scores on international peace and security.
Outside of western Europe and the English-speaking world, the highest ranked country was Costa Rica, which finished in 22nd place, while Chile was ranked in 24th place. The African nation deemed to contribute most was Kenya in 26th place.
The index is set to be updated annually and the bad news for Ireland is that things can only get worse from here on in.