A female taoiseach, a further decline in the influence of the Catholic Church and the redefining of the traditional family model were among some of the changes Irish people are predicting will occur over the next decade.
The study which was published yesterday by leading media agency OMD with the support of Ulster Bank is based on conversations with more than 1,000 people.
Managing director of OMD Tim Griffiths said the Future of Ireland captures the beliefs, hopes, and expectations of Ireland’s citizens today and for 10 years time.
“Its findings show that whilst we live in a society that is fast-changing, Ireland’s traditional optimism triumphs, with respondents feeling positive about the future and in control of their destiny. This snapshot of how we feel and what we want for 2025 is a really valuable insight into communities across Ireland and just the starting point for a wider conversation that we look forward to everyone joining.”
We’re optimistic about the future, with 44% of participants believing their lives will be better in 2025 than they are today. More than 40% also believe their family relationships will improve, while almost half expect to be in a better financial position. When it comes to happiness, 42% expect to be happier, with the top three factors in achieving this identified as free universal healthcare by 52%; work-life balance by 50% and freedom of choice by 49%.
There’s a get-up-and-go attitude as 51% intend to learn a new skill that will earn them money and nearly a quarter expect to set up their own business while two thirds expect to make new friends and take up new hobbies.
One of the most significant trends emerging is the shaking up of the traditional family model. Some 60% of participants believe marriage will be less important by 2025 and 51% now include friends in their definition of family.
When it comes to the generation gap, 53% say they have different values to their parents at their age, however, intergenerational relationships are strong, with 63% having a strong sense of openness between parents, children and grandparents.
More than half believe Ireland will have its first female Taoiseach by 2025. Whilst the influence of local and national government is expected to stay the same, 75% expect the influence of the Catholic Church to have declined while over 40% expect the influence of Irish media to decline. Some 35% of respondents believe older generations will have less influence than they do now and more than 50% believe younger generations will have more influence.
More than half expect foreign companies to continue having a big influence, with countries like Germany and China becoming more important by 2025; however 58% of those surveyed anticipate Dublin will become less important, both commercially and politically, by 2025.
When it comes to staying healthy, 70% plan on taking greater responsibility for managing their health in the future rather than relying on public health services.
Some 54% said they would be prepared to wear technology devices to monitor their health if it led to reduced insurance premiums.
About 71% of participants expect their health to remain the same or improve in 10 years, but the older generation disagrees with 51% of over-60s expecting their health to worsen.
Some 78% think it is important to discuss the care of ageing parents with them and although 45% would like to see elderly people cared for by adult children at home, only 21% believe this is likely to happen by 2025.
Despite expecting Dublin to become less important, when it comes to bridging the differences between urban and rural Ireland, the majority of participants (60%) don’t expect this to happen. More than half believe Ireland’s main streets will struggle to recover from the recession and an increase in online shopping.
There’s a sense that our Irish distinctiveness will be lost over the next 10 years as 40% expect Ireland will be a region of a European super-state by 2025. This can largely be put down to the impact of immigration and emigration with 51% expecting immigrants to have a bigger influence in the future. Some 38% also think there will be more Irish citizens speaking Polish than their native Gaeilge by 2025. Recession emigrants are also expected to stay overseas with only 21% believing they will return home by 2025.