Tuesday 16 January 2018

What do we want and care about as a nation? The 10 priorities are revealed

Patrick Edwards

A new survey of more than a 1,000 people by philanthropic charity Business in the Community suggests that public transport services rank as Ireland's top priority.

The areas that people are most satisfied with are arts, culture and learning.

However, we are worried about housing, creating an inclusive society and the treatment of older people.

As is the case in many western countries, those aged over 75 are the most satisfied with life, while the least satisfied age group in Ireland are 45 to 54-year-olds.

Munster is the least satisfied region with Connaught being the most satisfied region.

The survey, compiled every two years, grades 12 key areas that affect the quality of life of those who live, work, play and learn in Ireland.

The survey originated in Canada and Ireland became the first European country to gauge public sentiment of the standard of living within a nation using this method in 2013. The report grades each area on a scale of A-F. Ireland maintained an overall grading of C+ for satisfaction with life in Ireland. This compares well with Toronto which also scored a C+.

The areas that people are most satisfied with are arts and culture, which maintains it B- rating from 2013, and learning which rose from a C+ to a B-.

The areas that decreased in grade from 2013 were housing from C- to D+, inclusive society from a C to a C- and older people that also dropped from a C+ to a C. Housing scored the lowest and the pollsters said over 1,000 individual comments were received from the public looking to voice their concerns in this area.

The three priorities that people highlighted in this area were homelessness, availability of rental housing and cost of renting.

Speaking at yesterday's report launch, Community Foundation for Ireland boss Tina Roche said the survey would help society understand itself.

"The better we understand our communities, the better equipped we are to make decisions and take action to improve them," she added.

"Ireland's VitalSigns 2015 tells us what makes Ireland vibrant and what we have to celebrate.

"The report also highlights a number of gaps and challenges that we are facing.

"Identifying the areas that need improving and are most important to people, it provides us with an opportunity to create change and have a positive impact. "

Ms Roche noted that out of the 115 options that people were presented with the following were top ten most important issues for those living in Ireland and they reflect a clear focus on the future of the country:

1. Public Transport Services

2. Quality of the education system

3. Walking

4. Early Childhood Development

5. Mobility and transport of older people

6. Literacy Levels

7. Affordability of everyday life

8. Home life of older people

9. Air Quality

10. Homelessness

Irish Independent

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