Sunday 18 August 2019

Family, technology and health to shape a brighter future by 2025

The Future of Ireland poll
The Future of Ireland poll

Mark O'Regan

Over half the population believe Ireland will have its first female Taoiseach by 2025, a new survey has found.

And the majority of us believe the influence of the Catholic Church on the social fabric of Irish life will wane considerably in the next decade.

One of the most significant trends emerging is the redefining of the traditional family model. While 60pc of respondents believe marriage will be less important, harnessing lifelong friendships remains a key priority.

The first 'Future of Ireland' nationwide survey found over half of us (51pc) now include friends in our definition of "family".

While over half of respondents say they have different values to their parents when they were the same age, intergenerational relationships are strong.

And 63pc of people report having a healthy sense of openness between parents, children, and grandparents.

When it comes to happiness, the outlook is bright, with 42pc expecting to be more content with life by 2025. The top three factors to achieve this are free universal healthcare, improved work-life balance and more "freedom of choice".

Despite the downturn in recent years, increased wealth is at the bottom of the league table of things that contribute to our sense of happiness. Just 9pc of over 1,000 people surveyed said having more money would add to their satisfaction with life.


Surprisingly, improved internet access was cited as one of the key ingredients for a more fulfilled life, with 14pc saying universal broadband access would add to their sense of well-being.

Equality between the sexes (32pc), financial security (44pc), and free education for all (46pc) also featured in the top 15.

A majority across all ages, 70pc, plan on taking greater responsibility for managing their health in the future, rather than relying on public services.

Some 71pc of us expect our health to be either the same or better in 10 years' time.

However, 51pc of over 60s expect their health to worsen.

As Ireland's population ages, a majority of people (78pc), think it is important to discuss the care of ageing parents with them.

While 45pc would be happy to see elderly people cared for by adult children at home, only 21pc think this is likely to happen in 2025.

A further 54pc said they would be prepared to wear technology devices to monitor their well-being if it led to reduced health premiums.

Meanwhile, our patriotism is as strong as ever, with 69pc saying they consider themselves as being Irish first and European second.

A further 59pc reported being proud of our nation's achievements.

Demonstrating our entrepreneurial spirit is still alive and well, the survey shows nearly a quarter of us expect to set up our own business. However, over 20pc predict they will sell up and opt for a simpler way of life.

Meanwhile, 31pc of us expect to live abroad for a year or more.


On the downside, 60pc do not believe the Government will be able to bridge the gap between the rural/urban divide in the next 10 years.

Respondents said the predominant reasons our main streets will struggle to recover is due to the combined impact of the recession and the increase of online shopping.

The survey also shows the majority of us believe many young people who left for foreign shores during the downturn are unlikely to return, with just 21pc believing they'll be back home by 2025.

The study was published by media agency OMD, in conjunction with Ulster Bank.

Tim Griffiths, managing director of OMD, said the findings show Ireland's "traditional optimism triumphs".

"This captures the beliefs, hopes and expectations of Ireland's citizens today and for 10 years' time," he said.

"Respondents feel positive about the future and in control of their destiny.

"This snapshot of how we feel and what we want for 2015 is a really valuable insight into communities across Ireland and is just the starting point for a wider conversation," he added.

Irish Independent

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