Irish men are likely to live longer than their European counterparts

Life expectancy in Ireland has gone up by almost two and half years since 2006.

That's one of the key findings of the Government's 'Health In Ireland: Key Trends' report which has just been published.

It says that along with an increase in life expectancy, Irish men are also likely to live longer than their European counterparts.

The increase in life expectancy is due to a reduction in major causes of death such as cancer and circulatory diseases.

This is particularly strong for mortality rates from stroke (-39%), breast cancer (-16%), suicide (-26%) and pneumonia (-39%).

However, with the exception of rectal cancer, five-year net survival rates are lower in Ireland than the average for OECD countries.

A woman walks through Berlin in the morning | Image: Paul Zinken/DPA/PA Images

Irish women still outlive men with an average life expectancy of 83.6 years compared to men at 79.9 years - although that gap has narrowed from a 5.6 year difference back in 1996.

There has also been a 26% reduction in the mortality rate from suicide since 2008.

After a rise in the male suicide rate from 2008 to 2012, the three-year moving average has decreased and the latest figures (from 2015) have fallen below the EU average for the first time since 2010.

Overall, the mortality rate for Irish people is down 14.9% in the last 10 years.

However the report says that reduction has begun to slow down in line with our European neighbours.

The report also says a lot of challenges remain in the health system, especially access to efficient and timely healthcare across the country.