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Irish trust in institutions endures during COVID-19 turmoil

News   •   May 11, 2020 07:00 BST

Trust in institutions such as the news media, national government, European Union, healthcare system and Gardaí has remained comparably high in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite dropping levels of trust across Europe. In Ireland, trust in the national government was among the highest in the EU and trust in the European Union, while lower than trust in the government, was the second highest among EU Member States.

The first results from Eurofound’s Living, working and COVID-19 online survey show a Europe grappling to respond to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many respondents reporting high levels of loneliness coupled with low levels of optimism about their future. People across the EU are also reporting very low levels of trust in the EU and in their national governments. The survey has over 85,000 respondents to date, 8,700 of which were from Ireland.

Optimism about the future among respondents in Ireland remained high in comparison to most other countries: 59% of respondents (compared with 45% in the EU overall) said that they were optimistic about their own future. When asked about their children’s or grandchildren’s future, 55% were optimistic (compared with 33% of EU respondents overall). Optimism was at similar levels across age groups. As expected, people who were unemployed were the least likely to be optimistic (48%).

Nearly a third (32%) of Irish respondents reported they lost their jobs (or contracts in the case of self-employed) either temporarily or permanently due to the COVID-19 crisis. This was higher than what EU respondents reported overall (28%). Both in Ireland and the EU on average, self-employed respondents were more often affected by job or contract loss (72% of people who lost their job were self-employed).

Speaking about the Irish findings for the survey, Mary McCaughey, Eurofound Head of Unit for Information and Communication, said “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on health, quality of life and employment throughout Europe. There are few positive findings. However, it is apparent that Irish trust in institutions has endured so far during the pandemic, and Irish optimism for the future remains relatively intact.”

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