Upbeat Ireland peers through gloom that is enveloping West
As the year begins, it is a good time to try to gauge the national mood, both here and with our neighbours. As it happens, opinion polls taken in the closing months of last year across many countries allow us to do just that. Among other things, they show that we Irish are currently the most optimistic people in the Western world.
Nothing captures people's state-of-the-nation sense better than their view on whether their country is on the right or the wrong track.
When people across 15 countries in Europe were asked in surveys at the end of last year whether their respective countries were heading in the right direction, on average two out of three respondents who had an opinion responded negatively.