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Irish people optimistic about the economy...but not their own lives

The AA carried out a major survey of 26,000 Irish people before Christmas.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A STRANGE CONTRADICTION revealed itself in a major research project carried out by the AA before Christmas.

The results of the survey of 26,000 Irish people show that there is optimism about the economy generally next year while individuals still believe their personal situations will get worse.

According to the data, 39.5 per cent of respondents said that they felt that Ireland’s economy would improve, even if only slightly, in 2014. Only 17 per cent felt it would get worse.

On their own situations though, people were more pessimistic.

Only 16.9 per cent of people believed that their personal finances would get better while 37.7 per cent said that they would be worse.

There was also a divide apparent between those who live in the capital and citizens residing outside of Dublin.

Dubliners were more upbeat on what could happen next year with 44.4 per cent believing the Irish economy would improve with only 14.3 per cent thinking it would get worse.

However, again, they were only slightly more optimistic than the rest of the country when it comes to their own circumstance; 17.8 per cent felt things would improve for them where 37.9 per cent felt they would worsen.

“The economy is the aggregate of all of us so this does seem to be a contradiction,” explained director of consumer affairs at the AA, Conor Faughnan. “The main reason for this appears to be Property Tax – lots of people said that they would face this major additional bill while their incomes stayed the same.”

Many respondents also mentioned rising utility bills and health insurance costs.

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The AA received more than 2,000 individual comments and statements from the people who answered the questions.

“The frustration and stress that people are feeling is palpable,” added Faughan.

The survey was carried out in mid-November as part of the AA Consumer Panel.

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