There is a widely held assumption that Ireland is characterised by a relatively high level of public expenditure. To investigate this claim TASC has undertaken a descriptive overview of the levels and types of public expenditure in Ireland. This expenditure is then compared to public expenditure in the rest of the OECD countries. Ireland is found to have had one of the lowest average levels of public spending in the OECD over the period spanning 1995 to 2008, and consequently Ireland cannot accurately be characterised as having a high level of public expenditure, at least by rich country standards. However the proportional level of public spending in Ireland has soared since the start of the economic crisis. This increase is primarily caused by the automatic stabiliser effect associated with social protection spending and the collapse in national income. Social protection, health and education are, in that order, by far the three largest areas of public expenditure.