Almost 50% of Irish people ‘do not trust the Government’

Findings come on foot of a survey of more than 12,000 people across six countries

Almost half of Irish people do not trust the Government to be honest and truthful while a majority believe it communicates inaccurate and biased information, according to a new study.

The research was commissioned by University College Dublin and revealed that more than half of Irish people are unsure whether to believe the Government.

The findings come on foot of a survey of more than 12,000 people across six countries. The Irish public’s perceptions of the Government is more negative than other European nations, with only people in the United Kingdom and Poland rating theirs worse across several headings.

Almost half of respondents (48 per cent) said they do not trust the Government to be honest and truthful, while 58 per cent believe it communicates inaccurate and biased information.

Some 45 per cent of respondents think the Government ignores rules and procedures. By comparison, only one-third of people in Germany and Norway say their Government ignores rules and procedures.

Overall, people in the UK are among the most likely to think their government ignores rules and procedures, acts unfairly towards them and usually ignores people like them.

The study was commissioned as part of the university’s European Commission Horizon 2020 project Peritia, which examines policy and trust.

In the Republic, the majority felt the Government ignores them while 42 per cent of respondents said it acts unfairly towards people like them – behind Poland and the UK but similar to Italy and Germany.

Favourable view

Professor of Philosophy at UCD Maria Baghramian said the figures represent a challenge for the Government.

She said that “a point of difference that stands out in Ireland is the public’s favourable view of the European Commission, the most favourable of the six countries surveyed”.

In terms of media, Norway and Germany were the only countries surveyed where people were more likely to feel positively than negatively about news and media organisations. Furthermore, some 36 per cent of Irish respondents said they had negative feelings towards social media.

Respondents were also asked for their views about scientists working with Government, including on advisory groups.

In the Republic, just 12 per cent felt negatively about scientists in this sense, in comparison to 32 per cent of people in Poland.

The National Public Health Emergency Team disbanded earlier this year after more than two years of being chaired by the outgoing State chief medical officer Tony Holohan. A new advisory group has since been established.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

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