Look at the great catch up of Ireland since the terrible famine in 1849. That year the lifespan in Ireland, 20 years, was estimated to half of that in UK! And the estimated income per person in Ireland was only 1/3 of that in UK.
But Ireland has cached up and overtaken the former colonial ruler in both income and health. Note in Gapminder World that Ireland in spite of the economic downturn still has a higher average income per person than UK www.bit.ly/imxm1V . The latest data from IMF displayed in Google public data explorer confirms that Ireland still remains ahead of UK in GDP per capita when comaprision is made in purchasing power parity.