Does the Minister of State agree that Deputy John Bruton's proposal is a fundamental prerequisite to many policy decisions that are taken? Whether it is the Central Statistics Office, another Department or some expertise brought in, it is essential that the issue be addressed. FEASTA, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, has produced considerable research, drawing on information from Scandinavian and American countries where measures of quality of life are presented with gross domestic produce, GDP, and gross national product, GNP. Will this work be examined further to see if such measures can be implemented in Ireland?
Recently, the New Economics Foundation, in advance of the UK budget, highlighted that the measure of domestic progress can no longer show economic growth as giving rise to improvement in quality of life over a whole range of issues, since it peaked in 1976. Will the Minister of State accept that, since then, while economic growth has increased, quality of life, in terms of sustainability and individual happiness, has decreased?
I welcome recent census figures on matters such as women in the home that was collated by various changes to the census form. Given that knowledge of Irish was measured in the previous census, will the Minister now accept that it is not impossible to measure some of the matters that she regards as difficult? Measuring knowledge of Irish is by no means a black and white process as people assume levels of Irish in different degrees. Likewise, measures of fulfilment, happiness and quality of life should be on the census forms. They can be answered whatever way one wants, but at least they are recognised as being important.