A whopping 86pc of people surveyed this month think austerity is 'very' or 'somewhat likely' - a near consensus that tax hikes and spending cuts are on the way.
"They are right," Davy Stockbroker's chief economist Conall MacCoille says simply.
"Austerity is not a policy choice. If our economy is going to be smaller the only way you can get around austerity is by borrowing and that can't go on forever so its austerity now or austerity later," he says.
He thinks we could see income taxes rising as soon as October although he doesn't anticipate the kind of cuts to public spending that characterised the last crash happening any time soon.
This time around, he expects higher taxes combined with a cutback in planned spending increases rather than absolute cuts - and only once the current crisis phase of the Covid crash ends.
Right now cuts are being held off because Government has unprecedented access to cheap debt, thanks largely to the European Central Bank (ECB). Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says we'll borrow for now but warned in recent days that borrowing can't be a long-term solution to funding the State.
Davy's MacCoille agrees: "We can't have this huge gap - €30bn this year - between tax and spending for very long, maybe a year or two."
Perhaps surprisingly, Tom McDonnell, senior economist with the trade union-aligned Neri Institute also agrees. Borrowing to run the State isn't sustainable over the medium term even with the incredibly cheap debt being sustained by the ECB, he says.
"If we are in 2021 with a quarter of a million people unemployed and deficit of €14bn either you have to cut your cloth, or you have to introduce polices to get unemployment down - or more likely a bit of both," he says.
Like MacCoille he sees tax increases coming - reckoning a hike in pay related social insurance (PRSI) could be on the cards. He anticipates a slower rise in spending growth into the future - even with a rising and aging population.
The make of the next Government is a factor to watch for McDonnell, in particular the role of Greens who are likely to champion capital spend on areas like transport, renewables and retrofitting over current spending in a fight for resources.
KBC Bank Ireland's chief economist Austin Hughes, who asked the austerity question in the first place, hopes that overwhelming fatalism amongst the public is wrong.
"Do you think it is likely that the economic fallout from Covid-19 will lead to reintroduction of austerity measures (in terms of cutbacks in government spending and/or increases in taxation) in Ireland within the next two to three years?" was the question KBC bank asked 1,000 people this month.
With such an overwhelming response Hughes fears that fear of austerity will become self fulfilling as consumers pull in their horns, save more, spend less and sap the economy of a bounce that could help jobs-rich sectors like retail recover. That risks triggering an economic 'second wave', he thinks.
But the public attitude is shaped by the scars of the last financial crisis a decade ago and earlier crashes in the 1990s and 1980s.
Cutbacks have always followed Ireland's booms and busts, so Austin Hughes says: "It is entirely understandable that people feel austerity is the inevitable consequence of a crash."
This time though, the crash is a consequence of a public health crisis, not bad policy decisions and that should mean a different response focused on expansion, he says.
He's concerned the recent messages from Government, including Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe's warnings around rising debt, is making the public even more nervous which risks making the crisis longer and deeper.
"The language can make people nervous and there's a danger consumers will walk into an austerity trap," he says.
He points to comments by Paschal Donohoe, who was asked about the fears of austerity at an online seminar organised by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) yesterday.
The minister made no move to downplay those concerns focusing instead on the risk of the clamour for Government to borrow and splurge.
"Decisions are going to have to be made with finite amounts of taxpayers' money against many, many competing demands," the Minister said. "To pretend otherwise and create the sense there is an amount of money available out there that is risk free and consequence free, of itself could create risks on investment, on consumer sentiment, that could be every bit as risky in the long run [as fear of austerity]."
Rather than stimulate the Irish public to re-float the economy Mr Donohoe sees our recovery coming on the coat tails of a global lift-off.
At University College Cork (UCC), economist Seamus Coffey says the debate around austerity is too skewed to what might happen. We are in a crisis and spending has shot up, not down.
"In the last crash, as soon as the crisis hit Government starting cutting," he says.
That time, the ECB raised interest rates, and at a European level in 2010 there was an inappropriate reduction in government spending, he says.
None of that is happening this time around, with the ECB in particular pumping money into the system rather then reining it in.
"The discussion is all about what might happen in the future and actually very little about what is happening, which is we are going through an extraordinary shock. The deficit will have to come down, certainly, but it will come down."
Coffey agrees with Hughes that the public mood can shape the recovery.
"A large part of the economy is based on economic confidence, if people think something bad is coming they will respond to that," he says.
"There's no doubt this is an incredibly steep drop. Its an extraordinary crash of the economy but it is a designed crash, we wanted this for public health reasons," Coffey says.
He sees the economy now as being very different to 2007 when recovery was blocked by the scale of household debt.
Coming into 2020 households were saving and reducing their borrowings, Coffey says, even now many peoples' incomes are not affected by the lockdown. They are earning but can't spend it, so there is an opportunity to prompt them to spend as the economy opens up.
As a result, Coffey sees better potential for growth than in the wake of the last crash, once the economy is allowed to reopen, and as long as the UK and US in particular bounce back too.
That's because so much of the policy response to the crisis is temporary spending - even if it's huge in cash terms at €13bn.
Once the massive spike in spending happens things can begin to normalise, Coffey says, unless some of the spend becomes permanent.
"An issue could arise if we make long-term spending changes in areas like health, education, social welfare; we're talking about public finances recovering after emergency measures, but that would be a different conversation."