Tuesday 23 July 2019

Two-thirds of Irish people feel that the government fails to act in their interest

Half of people in Ireland think that their voice “rarely” or “never” matters in politics
Half of people in Ireland think that their voice “rarely” or “never” matters in politics

Daphne Psaledakis

More that 65pc of Irish people feel that the government fails to act in their interest, according to a new study. Only seven countries out of 50 surveyed had a more pessimistic view. 

Other findings were that half of people in Ireland think that their voice “rarely” or “never” matters in politics and that almost half the electorate (45pc) feel like they are not free to speak their mind in public about political issues.

Of people surveyed 58pc of Irish people felt the news they read “rarely” or “never” gives them a balanced or neutral information, slightly above the global average of 56pc.

The survey also showed that only half of the world's population thinks their country is democratic, with many Western Europeans viewing banks and social media as threats to democracy.

The survey of over 150,000 people from 57 countries by German polling firm Dalia Research and Alliance of Democracies Foundation found that even in democracies, 38pc of people are dissatisfied with the state of affairs.

"Right now, the biggest risk for democracies is that the public no longer sees them as democratic," Nico Jaspers, CEO of Dalia Research, said in a statement.

People surveyed in the United States, where the 2020 presidential elections are ramping up, were split as to whether their country was democratic - 46pc said it was and 40pc said it was not democratic enough.

Over half of Americans surveyed said the US has had a positive impact on democracy around the world, though majorities in Western countries such as Canada and most of Europe felt the impact had been negative.

In Europe, 52pc thought the EU does not act in the interest of most Europeans, with the most criticism coming from Italy, France and Greece.

The survey was released a few days before the EU's 28 leaders are due to decide the bloc's top jobs in a process criticised by some for not being democratic enough.

In Italy, where eurosceptic parties won last year's election and are now in government, 69pc thought the EU's decisions do not represent the interests of the population.

Most Europeans thought banks and the financial industry have had a negative impact on democracy in their countries, with Greece being the most critical, the survey found, a decade after a debt crisis that sent many Greeks into poverty.

Globally, 52pc did not feel their countries were prepared for another financial crisis.

Over 40pc of people surveyed in the United States, Canada and Austria, among other countries, felt that social media such as Facebook and Twitter had a negative impact on democracy.

You can read the report here.

Reuters

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