Majority of Irish people think Government’s Covid response aimed to protect own reputation

Majority Of Irish People Think Government’s Covid Response Aimed To Protect Own Reputation
Taoiseach Micheal Martin, © PA Media
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Amy Blaney

Three-quarters of Irish people believe the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was about protecting its own reputation, according to a recent study.

The research was carried out by Policy Expertise and Trust in Action (PERITIA), a UCD project who surveyed six other European countries to investigate public trust in expertise.


While almost 75 per cent of Irish people believe the government’s response to Covid-19 was motivated by protecting its own reputation, 58 per cent felt “making lots of money” from the pandemic was also a priority for the Government.

In contrast, the competency of scientists reacting to the pandemic was judged far more favourably, particularly in Ireland, where they scored the highest among the countries surveyed on a range of measures.

In Italy, 73 per cent of people said their government’s Covid-19 response was motivated by protecting its reputation. While in the UK, 61 per cent believed their government was motivated by money.


Only 12 per cent of people in the Ireland thought scientists involved in tackling Covid were ineffective, compared with 59 per cent who said they had performed well.


While slightly more than one in ten (13 per cent) believed scientists had been dishonest in dealing with the pandemic.

Professor Maria Baghramian, from University College Dublin and the project leader of PERITIA, said a key point in the study was Irish people's high level of belief and trust in advice from the scientific community.

“Given the high regard for scientists in Ireland, this perhaps validates, or at least explains, the Government’s decision to put NPHET [National Public Health Emergency Team] at the forefront of public advice on action and measures to combat Covid-19 during the pandemic,” she said. “Their advice was more likely to be listened to and trusted”.

The survey found the Irish public held scientists’ opinions in high regard, with 77 per cent saying scientists were motivated by concern for those most likely to be harmed by Covid, or took actions to address it, compared with the 63 per cent who said the same about the Government.


Some 76 per cent believed scientists were motivated by the thought the public are counting on them, versus 59 per cent who felt the Government shared this concern.

European institutions

Perceptions of other institutions, such as the European Commission, were also favourable, with only 16 per cent of respondents in Ireland rating the European Commission as being dishonest in its handling of the Covid pandemic.

This was the lowest score of the nations surveyed and compares favourably with the six-country average of 23 per cent.

Germany and Poland held the most negative views about the Commission, with 28 per cent and 25 cent respectively holding an unfavourable view of its honesty.

This latest survey covered six countries – Ireland, the UK, Italy, Germany, Norway, and Poland and surveyed 12,000 people.

The countries were selected to reflect differences across factors such as location within Europe, population size, GDP levels, political structure, and levels of trust in institutions, as measured in previous studies.

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