People's trust in the Government has nosedived to an all-time low over the past year, a survey found today.
Ireland has the worst confidence in its leaders in the EU with just a fifth saying they could rely on the Government.
The country also ranks well below Russia and the US in the league, which shows a global average of more than half believe in their political rulers.
The Edelman Trust Barometer also found only six in every 100 people now trust Irish banks, after a 20pc drop in their ratings during last year.
Researchers said this too marked a record low on the international scale.
Mark Cahalane, managing director of Edelman Ireland, the public relations firm that carried out the poll, suggested the tumultuous events of the last year severely dented people's trust in the powerful elite.
"It is noteworthy that across the western world trust in governments and banks are closely related," he said.
"This is particularly so in Ireland where only one in five now trust our system of government.
"A recovery in trust will require increased levels of transparency, a constant articulation of the actions being taken to rebuild confidence, as well as acceptance by those in positions of authority that full responsibility must be taken for the current crisis."
The international survey shows Ireland languishes at the bottom of the overall global trust rankings - out of 23 countries - and generally relies on its media, businesses and non-government organisations less than other countries.
Just under four in every 10 in Ireland have faith in news outlets, less than in Italy, France or Spain but better than the UK or US.
Radio, television and newspapers, as well as online search engines, rank as the most trusted sources of information.
But despite the lack of confidence at home, 14 of the 23 countries polled - including key trading partners the UK and the US - said they trusted global companies with headquarters in Ireland.
Researchers interviewed more than 5,000 people, aged 25 to 64, who were college educated, considered themselves well informed and relatively well off.
The survey was carried out between October and November last year.