Alternative census finds 40% of people don't feel cherished in Irish society

By Steve Neville

An Irish collective looking to explore what really matters to people living in Ireland has found almost 40% don't feel cherished in Irish society but that the majority still feel proud to call Ireland their home.

The Trailblazery - a group devoted to projects which question accepted views - launched the Census of the Heart to gauge the nation's "emotions" in 2016.

Designed as an alternative to the National Census, the Census of the Heart gauged the opinions of 12,000 people on a range of issues including life, society and well-being in Ireland.

A key question included 'Do you feel cherished in Irish society?'.

Only just over a quarter (29.5%) agreed with the statement while 36.7% found themselves disagreeing.

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The study asked an open-ended question asking respondents to tell people reading in 2116 what it really feels like to be alive in Irish society in 2016. 

"Our generation is either jumping on planes or jumping in rivers. At every stage of our lives now, we will be poorer than our parents were. I hope 2116 is a nicer place," one responder said.

Another stated: "I am sorry that we could not think of you when we were in charge of the country. Ignorance and greed got the better of us. We were a country that had many dark clouds hanging over us so we were inclined to avoid progress"

Video via The Trailblazery & Zero-G

The Census of the Heart also used the same question to gauge people's national pride.

Initial analysis found the word 'proud' came up 471 times. But while the word recurred most frequently, this appeared to be proud to be Irish but not proud of Irish behaviour regarding inequities.

Of those inequalities, frustration was a noted emotional response.

The 8th Amendment was repeatedly mentioned as a key concern.

However, the Marriage Equality Referendum was seen as something to be proud of that inspired hope and brought a sense of potential.

One responder wrote:

"We are so lucky to live in Ireland. We enjoy freedom, choice and we have the right to live our lives how we see fit. It has been exactly a year since we legalised same-sex marriage here in Ireland. We are the trailblazers of Europe, of the world even! We were the first country to introduce the no smoking ban in public places, others followed. We were the first to tax the use of plastic bags too. I wonder what is in store for the next 100 years!"

When faced with the statement, 'when I think of Ireland as home, I feel proud', many were left agreeing. 

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The census found ethnic groups felt similar pride with people of black and Asian origin saying they strongly agreed with the statement. 

People felt more positive than negative emotions when asked to identify their feelings with the top three emotions expressed as gratitude, contentment and positivity.

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Meanwhile, the top negative emotions expressed were overwhelmed, lonely and scared.

However, the stats show a higher percentage of men than woman felt confident and content while a higher percentage of women felt overwhelmed and lonely.

You can find more on the Census of the Heart at

Via Irish Examiner

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