Irish over-estimate the amount of foreign aid – yet still support it
Earlier this week, Dóchas published the results of the latest Ipsos MRBI research into public attitudes to global development.
And, again, the results are very positive:
- The majority of Irish people remain committed to overseas aid in spite of our current circumstances. There is a strong consensus that Ireland has an obligation to invest in overseas aid.
- 75% of respondents agree that people in Ireland have an obligation to invest in overseas aid, even in times of economic recession.
- 77% of people feel that it is important for Ireland’s reputation that we keep the promise that 0.7% of national income should be invested in Overseas Aid. That’s an increase of 4% from last year’s results.
- There is still a wide gap between what Irish people think the Government is spending on overseas aid and what the Government is actually spending
- 51% of people think that the government spends between 1-5% GNI on overseas aid. 9% of people think that we spend more than 21% of GNI on overseas aid compared to the real figure of 0.43% – a figure that is 40 times less than this percentage of respondents expect.
- On average people in Ireland think that the government spends 9.18% of national income. That’s 20 times more than the real figure of 0.43% of GNI spent on development aid in 2013.
- Even when reminded of the context of the economic downturn in Ireland the vast majority of the respondents feel that Ireland has an obligation to invest in overseas aid.
- Though the figure is down slightly from last year, 75% of respondents agree that we have an obligation to invest in overseas aid despite the downturn in the economy.
- There has been very little change over the last number of years in this very high level of public support:
The relevant numbers are:
- 2010: 81%
- 2011: 79%
- 2012: 80%
- 2013: 73% and
- 2014: 75%.
And these results are pretty much in line with earlier surveys:
- An MRBI poll in 2012 found that 85% out of 1,000 respondents agreed that “it is important to assist developing countries.”
- In 2013, a Eurobarometer poll found that seven out of ten people (69%) believe that helping these countries is also good for the EU, benefiting its citizens.
- A study undertaken by Amarách in 2013 found that those in favour of Government spending on overseas aid outnumbered those against by 2.5 to 1.