Being Irish

We have got used to change in Ireland. Even to a changing sense of what it means to be Irish. The Future of Ireland, sees more people expect ‘the sense of what it means to be Irish’ to be just the same in 2025 as in 2015 than not,  (43% vs 21%), but 41% of under 25s feel that a sense of Irish distinctiveness is being lost.

The Future of Ireland survey reveals some of the sources of this sense of change. Looking ahead to 2025:

  • Just over half think it likely that just a minority of Irish people will be practicing Roman Catholics
  • Only one in four thinks it likely that Irish culture and identity will be stronger than it is now
  • Just one in ten expects a united Ireland in ten years time
  • 38% expect there to be more Irish citizens speaking Polish than speak the Irish language
  • The same percentage don’t expect this
  • 8% expect Ireland will have its first Muslim president
  • 56% expect us to have our first female Taoiseach by then. 


Change Drivers

Demographics will also drive change over the next ten years.

  • One in four expects Ireland’s population to decline due to a falling birth rate
  • Two in four don’t.
  • Over 50% expect the statutory retirement age to have risen to 75
  • 21% think it likely most of those who emigrated during the recession will return by 2025
  • 59% would be very happy to see such an outcome.

Population drives household formation and housing demand. One of the most significant shifts in the past ten years has been the emergence of a substantial private rented sector.

  • 47% expect most people will rent rather than buy their homes by 2025,
  • Only 13% would be happy with such an outcome.
  • Only 22% agree that it would be better if more Irish people rented than bought their houses in future.
  • 37% disagree.
  • Among under 25s, just 19% agree renting rather than buying would be better.

Other social trends expected to shape our future concern crime and policing. In The Future of Ireland, Only 1 in 10 adults expects Ireland to have the lowest crime rate in Europe by 2025, and only 15% expect the legalisation of proscribed drugs by 2025.

The majority (69%) of Irish people do think it will be more important to use energy from renewable sources in the future.

Technology Futures

The prospect of free high speed internet access for every household in Ireland by 2025 would be extremely welcome: with 83% saying they would be happy with such an outcome. However, only 31% think it likely.

  • Half of all adults agree that they will probably spend more money online than offline in shops by 2025.
  • 53% agree that shops will be less important in the future as people buy more online
  • 62% fear that the main streets in Irish towns will struggle to recover because of the recession and online shopping.

The Irish people have lived through huge change in the past ten years. Most expect further change in the next ten years, much of which will be welcome. But it won’t all be, and we can expect more debate about issues such as identity and continuity as well as change in the years - and decades - ahead.

Download the full report below and take part in the conversation on our Twitter feed: @omd_fire. Don't forget to use #futureire to share your views!


Future of Ireland Ulster Bank