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Just one in three now believe their money is safe in Irish banks

JUST over a third of people now believe their money is secure in an Irish bank, while almost half fear it is unsafe, according to today's Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll.

And while the wealthy and Fianna Fail supporters are most likely to believe that their money is safe, the poor and Sinn Fein supporters are the least inclined to believe this to be the case.

People in Dublin also display more optimism on this issue, while those living in Connacht and Ulster are more pessimistic.

While the rich are more inclined to be happy with the security offered by our banks, their counterparts overseas have been busy pulling money out of Irish institutions at breakneck speed.

A staggering €40bn was withdrawn from bank accounts in Ireland in December as depositors lost faith in the banking system here.

Foreign companies and individuals pulled out €35bn in December and around €91bn in total last year. Irish residents have also been switching accounts, shifting almost €5bn out of local banks in December and more than €19bn in total in 2010, suggesting that many people have lost faith in the Government's guarantees.

This unprecedented withdrawal of money, revealed by the Central Bank earlier this week, shows fear about the banks is even higher than it was at the height of the liquidity crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers back in September 2008.

And voters appear uncertain about what party's banking policy is best, according to our poll.

Some 27pc believe Fine Gael has the best policy but Labour gets the thumbs-up from 18pc.

Current strategy is clearly not popular, with just 8pc of voters supporting the Fianna Fail policy of injecting large amounts of cash into the banks and not allowing any to fail.

Even Sinn Fein's programme enjoys more support than the Government on this issue but a large proportion of the population appears to be unconvinced by any party's plan.

A combined 35pc either don't like any of the policies on offer or don't know.


The poll also found that the vast majority of householders have endured pay cuts, job losses or shorter working hours in the past three years.

But it reveals more Fianna Fail voters remain unaffected by the recession than supporters of any other party.

Some 61pc of those polled have had a pay cut while 48pc have had a pay freeze. A total of 37pc saw their hours cut while 34pc either lost their job or were made redundant.

A total of 23pc said they remained unscathed by the recession -- but the majority of these were in the over-65 age bracket and likely to be retired.

And of those who had suffered no job or income loss, 33pc were Fianna Fail supporters.

The majority of private companies have imposed pay cuts while all public servants have seen their pay slashed thanks to the pension levy and the Universal Social Charge. Public sector employees have lost up to 14pc of their salary.

Figures from the Revenue Commissioners have shown the biggest percentage reduction in income has affected those on between €30,000 and €40,000. The number of households in this bracket fell by 7.3pc between 2007 and 2010.

A further breakdown of the poll figures also shows 28pc of voters in Connaught/Ulster were unaffected, while 17pc in the 18-24 age group had suffered no cuts. But those in the lower age group are likely to be in school or college.

Irish Independent