Coalition leaders Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore speak to the Irish press

A new survey commissioned by the European Union highlights a lack of positivity about the economy amongst Irish people.

But the Eurobarometer on economic sentiment does suggest that Irish people are more optimistic than those in fellow bail-out states Greece and Portugal.

The poll, conducted amongst 31,769 people across Europe in May, reports that 60 per cent of Irish people believe the worst is yet to come in terms of the economic downturn.

That figure is down 12 per cent on the last Eurobarometer survey. Some 30 per cent of Irish people surveyed believe the impact of the economic crisis on the jobs market has reached its peak, an increase of 10 per cent on the last poll.

By contrast, 78 per cent of those polled in Greece believe they have yet to see the worst of the downturn while 80 per cent of Portuguese citizens fear their economy has yet to hit the bottom.

Some 21 per cent of the Irish people polled believe it is up to the Government to pull the country out of recession, with 26 per cent believing the EU is responsible and nine per cent saying responsibility for getting the economy out of crisis rests with events in America.

Asked how to resolve the crisis, more than half the Irish people surveyed wanted to improve education and professional training while eight per cent favored an increase in working hours and six per cent opted to increase the age of retirement.

Of those surveyed, 40 per cent credit facilities improved for small business, 24 per cent want greater investment in research and innovation.

Some 37 per cent of those surveyed want to see it easier to set up a business and 33 per cent want to reduce public deficits and debt.

The majority of Irish people also believe the EU should have a greater role in regulating the financial services industry.

Irish people want to a tax on profits made by banks and wage regulation in the financial sector.
In Ireland, 70 per cent believe the Government has not acted effectively in its response to the crisis.
Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission, told the Irish Examiner: “The survey results show the majority of people believe the EU is now going in the right direction.”

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