Nearly half the Irish public doesn't trust Government to tell the truth

Nearly half the Irish public doesn't trust Government to tell the truth

The survey found that almost six in 10 people in Ireland think the Government does not communicate accurate and unbiased information,

Almost half of the Irish public (48%) does not trust the Government to be honest and truthful, with 58% of people believing that it communicates inaccurate and biased information.

The figures are contained in a study commissioned by University College Dublin, which saw 12,000 people across six countries surveyed in January this year, including 2,030 people in Ireland.

The survey found that the Irish public’s perceptions of the Government are more negative than other countries, with just those in Britain and Poland rating their governments as less trustworthy.

Almost six in 10 people in Ireland think the Government does not communicate accurate and unbiased information, while over half (54%) are unsure whether to believe what it says.

Some 45% of those who took part in the survey think the Government ignores rules and procedures, a figure which stands at 50% and 62% for Poland and Britain respectively.

By comparison, only one third of people in Germany and Norway believe their governments ignore rules and procedures.

Feeling ignored

In Ireland, just over half of respondents felt the Government ignores them, and 42% said the Government acts unfairly towards people like them, a similar figure to Italy and Germany.

Six in 10 Irish respondents said they are usually cautious about trusting the Government — a similar figure to Britain's 63%.

The study was commissioned by UCD as part of its European Commission Horizon 2020 project PERITIA — Policy Expertise and Trust in Action.

We don't believe politicians but we do trust scientists, the study finds.
We don't believe politicians but we do trust scientists, the study finds.

“This major study across six countries clearly shows the challenge many governments face with the public's perceptions of their trustworthiness,” said Professor Maria Baghramian, Professor of Philosophy at UCD School of Philosophy and coordinator and project leader of PERITIA.

None of the countries in the study do particularly well.

"Large proportions of the public in each say they’re cautious in trusting their government, disagreeing that they are honest, truthful and provide unbiased information — although people do tend to be more positive in Norway and Germany than other countries.” 

Prof Baghramian described the survey results as “a challenge for the Government”, but noted that Ireland had the most favourable view of the European Commission compared to other countries.

Only 14% of respondents in Ireland rated their feelings towards the European Commission as negative, with a six-country average of 23%.

Forty-one percent of Irish respondents were also likely to say that the European Commission shared similar values to them; higher than the 27% recorded in Britain.

Social media negativity

People in Ireland also felt negatively about social media platforms (36%), as well as news and media organisations (26%).

Scientists were the one group of people who were viewed positively in all countries, with an average of just 6% across all six nations holding a negative view of them.

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