Almost half of Irish people do not trust the Government to be honest or tell the truth, a new study has found.
According to research commissioned by UCD, as part of its European Commission Horizon 2020 project PERITIA, 48 per cent of people do not trust the Government to tell the truth.
Meanwhile, 58 per cent of those asked said they think the Government communicates inaccurate and biased information.
The data, which comes from a survey of over 12,000 people across six countries, found the Irish public’s perceptions of their Government to be more negative than other European nations.
Only people in the UK and Poland rated theirs worse across several measures.
The research also found that 54 per cent of Irish people are unsure whether to believe the Government, while 45 per cent of respondents said they think the Government ignores rules and procedures.
Some 53 per cent of people also said they feel the Government ignores the public, and 42 per cent said the Government acts unfairly towards people like them.
This compares to Poland, where 63 per cent of survey respondents said the government acts unfairly towards them, followed by 49 per cent in the UK, 42 per cent in Italy, and 41 per cent in Germany.
Maria Baghramian, Professor of Philosophy at UCD and coordinator and project, said the study shows many governments face challenges with the publics’ perceptions of their trustworthiness.
“None of the countries in the study do particularly well, with large proportions of the public in each saying 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,” Professor Baghramian explained.
“It is a challenge for the government that the majority surveyed in Ireland think it does not communicate accurate and unbiased information and are unsure whether to believe the government.
“A point of difference that stands out in Ireland is the public’s favourable view of the European Commission, the most favourable of the six countries surveyed.
“It is also important to note that the alarmist headlines about breakdown of trust in science and scientists is not borne out by this study.”
Just 14 per cent of respondents in Ireland rated their feelings towards the European Commission as negative.
This compares favourably with the six-country average of 23 per cent. Germany and UK hold the most negative views about the commission, with 24 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.
People in Ireland (41 per cent) were also likely to say that the European Commission shared similar values to them, considerably higher than the 27 per cent recorded in the UK.