Housing crisis greatest concern in Ireland, EU research suggests

Housing cited as pressing issue by 52% of Irish people in poll, compared with 8% across the EU

The housing crisis was the most pressing issue for Irish respondents. Photograph: iStock

Housing is the single biggest issue facing Irish society with 52 per cent of people citing it as a key concern compared with an EU average of just 8 per cent, according to research published on Tuesday.

Rising inflation is the second most serious issue identified in the latest Eurobarometer report, conducted on behalf of the European Commission.

The research suggests the cost of living crisis is worsening with 51 per cent of those polled identifying it a major problem in January compared with 44 per cent a year earlier.

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The report covers three core themes: trust in European Institutions; the direction for the future; and contextual issues including housing, the cost of living crisis, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, energy supply and political leanings; and attitudes towards the media.

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Ireland was found to be much more centrist in its political leanings than the EU average with 59 per cent of people here identifying themselves as centrist compared to an EU average of 39 per cent.

The share of Irish people who view themselves as right wing was 10 per cent, down 2 percentage points on the 2022 figure and considerably below the EU average of 21 per cent.

According to the research, carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes (B&A) and involving interviews with 1,008 people over the age of 15 in January and February, Irish people are more likely to agree with reducing the EU’s reliance on Russian sources of energy and increasing investment in renewable energy sources than the EU average.

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The poll suggests that 91 per cent of Irish people agree the EU should reduce its dependency on Russian sources of energy as soon as possible, compared to the EU average of 84 per cent while 90 per cent agree that the EU should invest massively in renewables compared to an EU average of 86 per cent.

According to the research, Irish people are far more likely to trust the national media “to deliver trustworthy information” with 74 per cent agreeing with the statement compared with an EU average of 59 per cent.

They are also far more likely to agree that the Irish media provide information free from political or commercial pressure – 68 per cent compared to an EU average of 48 per cent.

By contrast four out of five of the Irish public said they often come across news or information that they believe misrepresents reality or is false, well above the EU average of 69 per cent.

The report also suggests that 74 per cent of Irish people have a positive view of the EU, up 4 percentage points on summer 2022 and the highest across the EU where the average is said to be 45 per cent.

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A further 84 per cent of Irish citizens are optimistic about the future of the EU, again the highest percentage and well above the average of 62 per cent. A further 61 per cent said they trusted the EU, according to the poll, compared with 47 per cent across the EU.

The research, “coming as it does, one year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, shows that Irish citizens continue to show strong support for Irish and EU actions to support Ukraine and its people,” said Barbara Nolan, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland.

She said the poll also showed that “Irish people hold a very positive image of the EU, the highest of any EU country”.

“They are also the most optimistic about the EU’s future. A large majority of Irish people also feel well informed about European matters, second only to Luxembourg, and well above the EU average,” she said.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor