A new survey has found that Irish people are optimistic about the future, believe there will be a female Taoiseach (Prime Minister) by 2025, the Catholic Church’s influence will have dwindled further and Ireland will be more European.

The first Future of Ireland study, published by media agency OMD, questioned 1,000 Irish people on their vision of the future. They questioned personal beliefs, values and how attitudes have changed and the results were fascinating.

Tim Griffiths, Managing Director of OMD said the survey’s “findings show that whilst we live in a society that is fast-changing, Ireland’s traditional optimism triumphs, with respondents feeling positive about the future and in control of their destiny.”

1. The Irish are a positive people

- 44% of participants believe their lives will be better in 2025 than they are today.

- 40% believe their family relationships will improve

- Almost half expect to be in a better financial position

- 42% expect to be happier

- The top three factors in achieving happiness were identified as free universal healthcare by 52%, work-life balance by 50%, and freedom of choice by 49%.

2. Controlling their destiny

- 51% intend to learn a new skill that will earn them money

- Nearly a quarter expect to set up their own business

- Two thirds expect to make new friends and take up new hobbies

3. A new family model

- 60% of participants believe marriage will be less important

- 51% now include friends in their definition of family

- 53% say they have different values to their parents at their age

- Intergenerational relationships are strong, with 63% having a strong sense of openness between parents, children and grandparents.

4. Ireland’s first female Prime Minister

- More than half believe Ireland will have its first female Taoiseach by 2025

- The influence of local and national government is expected to stay the same

- 75% expect the influence of the Catholic Church to have declined

- 40% expect the influence of Irish media to decline

- 35% of respondents believe older generations will have less influence than they do now

- 50% believe younger generations will have more influence.

- More than half expect foreign companies to continue having a big influence, with countries like Germany and China becoming more important

- 58% of those surveyed anticipate Dublin will become less important, both commercially and politically.

5. Health

- 70% plan on taking greater responsibility for managing their health in the future rather than relying on public health services

- 54% said they would be prepared to wear technology devices to monitor their health if it led to reduced insurance premiums

- 71% of participants expect their health to remain the same or improve in 10 years, but the older generation disagrees with 51% of over-60s expecting their health to worsen

- 78% think it is important to discuss the care of ageing parents with them

- 45% would like to see elderly people cared for by adult children at home, only 21% believe this is likely to happen.

6. United States of Europe?

- Irish have a sense that the Irish distinctiveness will be lost over the next 10 years

- 40% expect Ireland will be a region of a European super-state

- This is put down to the impact of immigration and emigration with 51% expecting immigrants to have a bigger influence in the future

- 38% also think there will be more Irish citizens speaking Polish than their native Gaeilge by 2025

- Recession emigrants are also expected to stay overseas with only 21% believing they will return home.