Irish citizens are “clearly the most pro-European of all European citizens”, according to the annual Eurobarometer report for Ireland.
And, while 71% of people believe things are going in the right direction for the country in general, many of us are worried about the rising cost of living with 44% of us saying that this is one of the top two issues facing Ireland.
However, people were surveyed for this study in January and February and since the Russian invasion of Ukraine it is “likely that the Irish public are more concerned at this point with the impact of inflation on energy and the broader cost of living”, Eurobarometer said.
It noted: "Shortly after the fieldwork ended, figures from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office showed that the annual rate of inflation had reached a 21-year high at 5.6% and was continuing to increase at pace."
The annual survey covers Irish and European public opinion trends towards the EU and political and social issues more generally.
People in Ireland generally hold a positive view of the EU with 21% saying very positive and 50% saying “fairly positive”. The EU is more popular among older cohorts, with 75% of people over the age of 55 saying they view the EU positively.
Just over three in five (62%) of people in Ireland believe the EU is going in the right direction and seven in ten (71%) believe Ireland is going in the right direction.
This is in stark contrast to the EU average, where just 37% and 36% of the EU27 think that the EU and their own country are going in the right direction, respectively.
While 63% of Irish citizens believe the Irish economy to be in a good place, just over one-third (34%) say the employment situation here is rather bad or very bad.
One in 10 (11%) people say their financial position is bad or very bad while a similar proportion (9%) say they’re unsatisfied with their personal job situation.
A large majority of people (83%) said they are satisfied with how democracy works in Ireland with 81% saying they were satisfied with how democracy works in the EU.
This compares with 56% (for their own country) and 55% (for the EU) across the EU27 average.
When it comes to trust in the media, almost two-third (65%) said they trusted radio content, followed by TV (59%) and the written press (52%).
Trust in the internet and social online networks was lower, at 26% and 17% respectively.
“Other EU citizens are a little less trusting of most traditional media but they are slightly more trusting of the internet,” the report said.
Respondents were also asked about their satisfaction with Covid-19 measures taken by the Government.
At the start of this year, 78% of people said they were satisfied with the measures taken by the Irish Government and local authorities to fight the pandemic; this rose from 67% when the survey was conducted in 2021.
Barbara Nolan, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, welcomed the findings.
She said: “The Covid pandemic has been a very difficult period for so many and as Ireland begins to return to a ‘new normal’ this spring, it is encouraging to see that Irish people continue to hold a very positive view of the European Union and remain optimistic for the future.”
Fieldwork for the Irish survey was undertaken by Behaviour & Attitudes who interviewed 1,006 respondents aged 15+.