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Taoiseach launches new behavioural study to gauge our attitudes to Covid-19 restrictions

The research – in conjunction with the ESRI – will survey people on their recent activities.

The Taoiseach on his way into government buildings yesterday.
The Taoiseach on his way into government buildings yesterday.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

THE TAOISEACH HAS today launched a “key research initiative” aimed at recording attitudes to Covid-19 restrictions and how well people are adhering to them. 

Designed by the ESRI’s Behavioural Research Unit, this social activity measure (SAM) will be an anonymous, online study that surveys people about their recent activity. 

The aim is to offer insights into where and how we are at risk of getting Covid-19 and it is hoped this will inform policy regarding the opening of parts of the economy and society in the coming months. 

Next week, the government is set to unveil its new plan for living with Covid-19 which is expected to keep the same kind of levels system under the current plan, albeit with a number of tweaks.

The country has been under Level 5 restrictions since late December, and it is expected to be some time before restrictions are significantly eased.

In a statement, the government said this new research would ensure a “more complete picture of how people are behaving as well as peoples’ attitudes with respect to restrictions, what is working well and what may need to be adjusted at a given point in time”.

The survey will ask people to recall their activities, including occasions they left their homes and whether they had visitors during the previous week. 

It will collect data from 1,000 respondents every two weeks. The government said it will publish the research starting this Friday. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “As our vaccination programme ramps up, we continue to rely on our behaviour as the best defence against contracting and spreading Covid-19.

“This research will be play an important part in helping us to understand more fully how restrictions affect our behaviour, ensuring that data and insight is the foundation for all of our policy decisions and communications approaches.”

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Sean Murray

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