Irish upbeat on economy and EU despite Brexit and Trump

Eurobarometer poll also reveals public maintains positive attitude towards migrants

The survey reveals only 13 per cent of Irish people believe the economy here will “worsen” over the next 12 months as a result of Brexit. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

The survey reveals only 13 per cent of Irish people believe the economy here will “worsen” over the next 12 months as a result of Brexit. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

 

Despite a year of unprecedented turmoil in Europe, Irish people remain strongly supportive of the European Union, maintain a positive attitude to migrants and believe the Irish economy won’t be too badly affected by Brexit.

The findings are contained in the latest Eurobarometer poll, conducted last November amid the ongoing migrant crisis, the fallout from Brexit and the election of US president Donald Trump.

The survey reveals only 13 per cent of Irish people believe the economy here will “worsen” over the next 12 months as a result of Brexit despite dire warnings about its potential impact on trade.

In contrast, some 38 per cent of Irish people believe the economy is likely to improve while 45 per cent think it will “stay the same”.

Overall, 64 per cent of Irish people described the economy as “good” which was significantly higher than the EU average of just 41 per cent.

Amid the ongoing migrant crisis, Irish people continue to exhibit a positive disposition towards immigration with 81 per cent of people professing to have a positive view of immigrants from other EU states.

Wrong direction

Similar to other EU countries, however, Irish citizens were less enthusiastic about immigrants from outside the EU with only 57 per cent maintaining a positive view, albeit this was 20 points about the EU average.

“Comparatively speaking, Ireland ranks among the most positive about this form of immigration,” the study noted.

The biggest single change in Irish attitudes was detected in the 61 per cent of people who felt the US was headed in the wrong direction in the wake of the election of Mr Trump. This was up from 16 per cent in the previous survey.

Despite the rise of euroscepticism across Europe, the poll reveals the number of Irish people’s professing trust in the EU institutions has risen and eclipsed those that don’t for the first time since the crash.

EU institutions

Trust in the EU in Ireland has climbed from a low of 24 per cent in November 2011 in the wake of the EU-IMF bailout to 49 per cent currently.

This is higher that the EU average of 36 per cent and represents the largest proportion of the people professing trust in the EU institutions since 2008.

On support for specific EU policies, the poll showed 90 per cent of Irish people are in favour of the free movement of EU citizens compared with an EU average of 81 per cent. However, only 44 per cent supported the further enlargement of the EU.