Most people no longer trust church, Government or banks


PUBLIC TRUST in the Catholic Church, the State and banks has plummeted as a result of recent scandals and the recession, according to new research.

A majority of people do not trust the Government, the Church or the banks.

Respect for the media has also fallen, with almost six out of 10 respondents to the survey saying they did not “really” or “at all” trust it to be honest and fair.

The research was commissioned by the advertising agency Chemistry and carried out by the market research company Amárach in February with a sample of 850 adults over a 10-day period.

The impact of the Ryan and Murphy reports could be seen in a sharp rise in the level of distrust in the church. The number of people who did not trust the church “at all” rose from 6 per cent in 2001 to nearly a third (32 per cent) this year.

A further 21 per cent said they did “not really” trust the church this year, compared to 11 per cent in 2001.

Those who trusted the church “a great deal” fell from 18 per cent in 2001 to 4 per cent this year.

The erosion of trust in the Government was almost as dramatic with nearly half the public (44 per cent) saying they did not trust it to be honest and fair “at all” compared to 30 per cent in 2004, and 9 per cent in 2001.

The number of people who did not trust the banks at all was up from 9 per cent at the height of the boom in 2006 to 41 per cent this year, but the survey was carried out in February before the full extent of the liabilities heaped on taxpayers was evident.

Some 10 per cent of people said they trusted the banks “mostly” or “a great deal” this year compared to 38 per cent in 2006.

For the first time since trust levels were tracked in 2001, a majority of the public said they no longer trusted the media. The number of those distrusting the media has tripled from 20 per cent in 2001 to 59 per cent this year.

The number of people who did not really trust supermarkets has more than trebled from 6 per cent in 2001 to 19 per cent this year and those who do not trust them at all has increased from 2 per cent to 8 per cent in the same time frame.

There was a mixed performance for the health service and the legal system in the figures, which were first revealed at the 2020 conference in Croke Park on Tuesday.

Those who distrusted the health service rose from 19 per cent in 2001 to 41 per cent in 2010.

Distrust of the legal profession rose from 18 per cent in 2001 to 31 per cent in 2004 and stood at 29 per cent this year. Any gains for lawyers in this respect was mitigated by a drop in the number of people who trusted their profession “a great deal” or “mostly”.

Trust in the Garda remained fairly static between 2001 and 2010.

Chemistry director of strategy Carolyn Odgers said the lack of trust was compounded by the public’s frustration that so many of those who had caused the breakdown of trust were still in charge.

“We are very angry and very frustrated and don’t trust anybody anymore. This anger is part of the purging of the past, but the purging is slowed by the fact that we can’t get rid of the people who don’t trust,” she said.

“We seem to be stuck with so many of those who caused these problems in the first place. While they are still there we cannot restore trust,” she said.

Ms Odgers said the decline in trust in State agencies which did not directly cause the recession showed that the breakdown in trust can have a contagion effect across society and can also affect companies.

Last autumn Chemistry carried out research which asked the public who they trusted. About 70 per cent of them said they preferred to trust in themselves rather than any institution.