Thursday 22 February 2018

Irish among Europe's most optimistic and trusting citizens

Sean Duffy

Irish people are upbeat about their current economic situation, according to a new survey published by the EU.

When asked about the financial situation of their households, 77pc of Irish respondents replied that it was good, a figure well above the EU average.

In addition, 70pc of Irish people said that their current employment situation was good, which was also above the EU average of 58pc. The eurostat survey also revealed that Irish citizens are much more positive about the prospects for the economy than their EU counterparts, with 42pc of people here saying they believed the economic situation would improve over the next 12 months.

Irish people also said they thought that employment would continue to grow over the coming year, with 45pc forecasting an improvement, while 41pc said it was likely to remain the same.

However, the study was carried out prior to the EU referendum in the UK. Since the vote, there's been a clear dip in Eurozone consumer confidence.

When asked what were the two most pressing concerns for the country, housing and health featured most prominently in the survey.

The issue of housing was viewed as one of the most important by 45pc of people, while health and social security concerns were viewed as one of the key concerns for 37pc.

Concerns about the housing question in the country are reflected by the comparison with other EU states, with housing seen as an important issue for just 8pc of people in other member states.

Irish people are much more confident that the economic crisis is over; 71pc of respondents believing the worst had already been seen.

Other Europeans are more pessimistic; 47pc of people across the continent think the worst has still to come.

The euro remains popular among the Irish, with 80pc of people supporting the single currency.

In fact, 56pc of Irish people believe that the euro is best thing to have emerged from the European Union.

Conversely, just 20pc of Irish people believe that the economic power of the EU is the best thing to have emerged from the union, which was close to the overall EU figure of 18pc.

When asked about the possibility of a free trade deal with the US, Irish people were overwhelmingly in favour of a pact, with 70pc of people saying they would be supportive.

Only 51pc of fellow EU respondents indicated they would be supportive of the measure.

There has been widespread concern about the prospect of the Transatlantic Trade and Innovation Partnership (TTIP) agreement, with critics arguing the deal will erode national sovereignty for the benefit of global corporations. In general, Irish people are more likely to trust EU institutions more than other countries, with 44pc of people here saying they tend to trust EU institutions, compared to just 33pc across Europe. A majority of EU citizens are sceptical about the institutions, with 55pc of Europeans saying they tend not to trust them. In Ireland, 38pc of people expressed reservations about the institutions.

In a worrying statistic for politicians here, we have more confidence in the EU parliament than in the Oireachtas. Just 29pc of Irish people have confidence in the Dáil,the survey found.

Irish Independent

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