Trust in government 'increases'


Trust in government in Ireland is rising while in Europe it is in decline, according to an annual survey of trust in institutions across the continent.

Overall trust in government here rose by 15 percentage points to 35 per cent over last year, the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer found. The global average across the 25 countries in the survey was 43 per cent, down 9 per cent on the previous year. This was the largest global fall in trust in government in 12 years.

While trust in government in Ireland is rising, overall it remains at very low levels. Seven out of 10 Irish people don’t trust government leaders to tell them the truth, while only 12 per cent believe government is managing the country effectively.

Only one citizen in 10 believes government is listening to their needs while 14 per cent says it is delivering training programmes to create jobs.

Overall levels of trust in Ireland improved marginally over the past year, rising 2 percentage points to 41 per cent. Ireland was the least trusting country last year but in this year’s research that position has been taken by Russia. Germany, Spain and Japan also have less trust than Ireland now.

Trust in business in Ireland fell by 3 points to 43 per cent, in line with global trends. Domestic banks remain the most distrusted institution, though trust increased slightly from 6 per cent to 9 per cent.

Despite the lack of trust in government, there is still an expectation that government should regulate business. Two-thirds of citizens believe government doesn’t regulate business enough. The credibility of government regulators is even lower, at 25 per cent.

Trust in media in Ireland dropped by 3 per cent to 35 per cent but this was contrary to a global trend that saw overall trust in media rise last year. Only Russia has lower trust in media.

Mark Cahalane, managing director of Edelman Ireland, said the survey showed there was a “yawning gap” between Irish people’s expectations of government and what they felt they were getting. “Citizens seek leadership, clarity and solutions and don’t believe any institution is delivering on these expectations. The clear message for government is that it is perceived not to be getting its message through or listening.”

More than 30,000 people in 25 countries were surveyed late last year for the report.