Poll finds most feel proud to be Irish on national holiday

Small majority say that Ministers should travel overseas for St Patrick’s Day

 Merle Bukowski and Julian Middeke from Lower Saxony, Germany, enjoying the St Patrick’s Festival Céilí Mór at   St  Stephen’s Green Dublin.  Photograph: Alan Betson/ The Irish Times

Merle Bukowski and Julian Middeke from Lower Saxony, Germany, enjoying the St Patrick’s Festival Céilí Mór at St Stephen’s Green Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson/ The Irish Times

Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 01:01

A majority of people in the Republic feel proud to be Irish on St Patrick’s Day, according to a poll conducted by Ipsos MRBI. It shows that 58 per cent of people feel proud to be Irish on the Republic’s national holiday.

Poorer people are much more likely to express pride in their nationality than the better off, with more than 70 per cent of them saying they feel proud of their Irishness. Across the age groups, older people over 65 are much prouder of their national identity than younger people. It is not that younger people or the better off are ashamed of their nationality; it just doesn’t appear to mean as much to them.

A substantial proportion of people say they intended to go to their local St Patrick’s Day parades on Monday – 57 per cent in Munster, 45 per cent in Connacht-Ulster, with Leinster just behind at 44 per cent. Although it has the biggest parade, a smaller percentage of Dublin people intend to go to it, with just 30 per cent of those living in the capital saying they will attend.

Opinion is divided on the question of whether Government Ministers should visit overseas events on St Patrick’s Day. Forty-nine per cent say they should go but 46 per cent say they should not and 5 per cent had no opinion. There is a big difference in the responses of men and women, with 57 per cent of men saying Ministers should travel, compared to 41 per cent of women. There was also a social divide on this issue, with 70 per cent of the best off AB voters saying Ministers should travel, compared to 42 per cent of the poorest DE social category.

A total of 61 per cent think that people living abroad tend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day more than people who live in Ireland.

Fieldwork for the survey was conducted by telephone with a nationally representative sample of 1,005 respondents aged 15 and over. Both landline and mobile phone numbers were contacted through fully random digit dialling. The accuracy level is plus or minus 3 per cent.