divided nation

Dubliners think Ireland is doing great, but people in rural areas don't agree

Urban boom, rural bust.

IRISH PEOPLE ARE more confident about the economy than they have been since the boom years, according to the latest Behaviour & Attitudes consumer survey.

The number of adults agreeing that the economy will improve during the coming year has risen by 6% points to 33% overall, compared to the same period last year.

Just one in four people (26%) feel the economy will be worse off in one years’ time, down 8% points since February 2014.

However, the gap in sentiment between Dublin and other areas has widened, highlighting a potential two-tier recovery.

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With the exception of Dubliners, the middle-class, and those under the age of 35, overall perceptions of personal finances for the year ahead have not seen an improvement and remain in negative territory.

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The research also found that consumers are still cautious about spending – just one in ten of those surveyed (12%) expect to spend more in the 12 months.

Current weekly discretionary income hasn’t really changed since September 2014, albeit year-on-year a slight increase is evident.

Dubliners and the middle-class have greater levels of disposable income versus those
living outside the capital and the blue collar sector respectively.

Similarly, plans to save throughout the oncoming year have remained in
negative territory (although figures are improving gradually).

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Both those living in and outside Dublin believe the value of their assets will increase over the next 12 months – however, Dubliners are twice as optimistic overall. Irish people haven’t felt as confident about the value of their assets since 2007.

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Luke Reaper, Deputy Managing Director of Behaviour & Attitudes, said many people are “more positive about the country’s future”. However, he added that consumers are “not yet feeling this recovery in their pockets, which is impacting consumer spending”.

“Clearly certain sectors of our society are still struggling financially. In addition, Dubliners have a greater sense of momentum, with the challenge being outside, especially in rural areas.”

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