Did anything good come out of the recession? This is a question that we had to ask, despite so many still experiencing the consequences of the economic shock. And when we asked whether ‘Ireland is a better place because the recession taught us the value of family and community’ nearly half (46%) agreed; twice as many as disagreed. In The Future of Ireland, women are more likely to agree we’re in a better place than men; while under 25s and over 60s are much more likely to agree than ‘in-between’ age groups.

All things considered, the majority (57%) of people would prefer to live in Ireland than anywhere else. Younger people are less adamant though they lean much more towards ‘staying’ than ‘going’. Nevertheless, the recent legacy of recession and emigration has left its mark: The Future of Ireland sees twice as many disagree that young people are better off staying in Ireland as agree. And this differs very little by age group. 

In The Future of Ireland, a minority (28%) expect that people will become more involved in their local communities and voluntary associations over the next 10 years; though 73% would be happy to see such a trend by 2025.

We see a growing international debate about the introduction of a basic income for all citizens regardless of whether they work or not. More Irish people think a basic income is unlikely by 2025 than likely (57% vs 18%), rather more would be happy to see such an outcome than unhappy (48% vs 25%).

One of the major cleavages in Irish society right now is between urban and rural Ireland. Will the differences disappear over the next 10 years?

  • 60% think it unlikely
  • 15% think it likely
  • 35% would welcome a narrowing of the difference
  • 24% would not welcome a narrowing of the difference 

The other side of that divide is the relationship between Dublin and the rest of the country:

  • The majority (58%) anticipate Dublin becoming less important commercially and politically compared to other Irish cities by 2025
  • 37% would be happy to see such a turn of events in ten years’ time (but only 22% of Dubliners would be happy!) 

Still Irish

Has the recession affected the wider perception of national identity? In The Future of Ireland, we are certainly more likely to think of ourselves as Irish first and European second, so say 69% of those surveyed. Though older adults are more likely to identify as Irish first, European second, the fact is that even among under 25s the vast majority see themselves as Irish first.  

Closer to home, Irish people are more likely to disagree than agree that ‘these days there is little real difference between the Irish and the English’, but the differences are small: 38% disagree vs 34% agree. A similar study asked the same question in 2010 and found that 50% disagreed with the statement. It seems that one effect of the recession and wider social and cultural changes, may well have been to considerably reduce perceived differences between the British and Irish (except presumably in sporting matters!).

What do Irish people think about our future relations with Europe?

  • 40% agree that ‘Ireland will just be a region of a European super state’
  • Only 24% disagree.

The recession may have brought us closer together as a people, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will continue to experience the same sense of national identity - or differences - into the future.

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