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2017 Edelman Trust Barometer Reveals Crisis of Trust in Ireland

Posted By Edelman, Wednesday 5 April 2017

Joe Carmody Edelman

  • 59 percent believe the system has failed them
  • Media now least trusted institution, but traditional media trust is on the rise
  • Irish people are 2.5 times more likely to ignore information that supports a position they do not believe in
  • CEOs amongst least credible spokespeople


March 30th 2017 – New findings released today from the 2017 Edelman Ireland Trust Barometer reveals a crisis in trust levels across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs. Trust in media fell from 39 percent to 29 percent and media is now seen as the least trusted institution in Ireland. Trust in Government in Ireland remained at the same level as the previous year on 32 percent. Trust in business and NGOs dropped and they are now only 2 percentage points apart, at 41 percent and 43 percent respectively.


The Trust Barometer found that 59 percent of respondents in Ireland believe that the system has failed them — that it is unfair and offers little hope for the future — while only 15 percent believe it is working, and more than one-quarter are uncertain. The research reveals that 55 percent of the top income quartile, 59 percent of third level educated and a majority of the well-informed (56 percent) believe the system has failed. The Barometer showed that populist issues are fueled by a lack of trust in the system as well as both economic and societal fears. Countries coupling a lack of faith in the system with deep fears, such as the U.S., U.K. and Italy have seen the election of Donald Trump, the Brexit vote and the failed Italian referendum.


The research finds that credibility of leaders in Ireland is also in peril. CEO credibility dropped 16 points in Ireland from the previous year, to 27 percent which now puts it on par with government officials and boards of directors as the least credible spokespeople. The most credible spokespeople in Ireland are academic experts (61 percent), technical experts (58 percent) and a person like yourself (54 percent).


Speaking at the unveiling of the findings, Joe Carmody, managing director of Edelman Ireland said: “2016 and early 2017 has been a period of almost unimaginable upheaval. People in multiple countries rejected their government’s leaders or policies, demonstrating their dissatisfaction and distrust by electing reform or outsider candidates, voting to leave trading blocs, or refusing to support treaties negotiated by their governments. The mainstream media lost audience as people turned to social media and search for information, advertising results were questioned, and the spectre of fake news has left the public wondering what is true anymore.


“The findings of the 2017 Trust Barometer help provide a roadmap for understanding the forces that influenced the tide of populist action that swept across many western-style democracies. Ireland must consider itself on notice for the rise of populism. Once the majority of the population believes that the system is no longer serving them, they also become vulnerable to the fears that can fuel anti-establishment actions.”


The cycle of distrust is magnified by the emergence of a media echo chamber that reinforces personal beliefs while shutting out opposing points of view. Respondents in Ireland favour search engines (53 percent) over human editors (47 percent) and are more than 2.5 times more likely to ignore information that supports a position they do not believe in. 49 percent stated that they never or rarely change their position on important social issues.


Of the four institutions, business is viewed as the only one that can make a difference in the community it operates in. 68 percent of respondents agree a company can take specific actions to both increase profits and improve economic and social conditions in the community where it operates. However, there are worries amongst the workforce in Ireland that business must respond to. People in Ireland expressed worries about losing their jobs due to the lack of training and skills provided to them (49 percent), foreign competitors (44 percent) and automation (37 percent).


Other key findings from the 2017 Edelman Ireland Trust Barometer include:


Between 2012 and 2017, media as an institution saw a six percent drop. Traditional media (56 percent), the most trusted media outlet, has seen two years of growth in trust levels. Online only media saw a seven point drop on 2016 levels from 48 percent to 41 percent.


More than one in three people in Ireland agree with the statement, “I would support politicians I trust to make things better for me and my family even if they exaggerated the truth.”


Employees are seen as the most credible spokespeople on issues including employee/customer relations (64 percent), innovation (33 percent) and industry issues (36 percent).


The full presentation is available to view at


For further information please contact:

Martyn Rosney


016789333 / 0857282151


Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm that partners with many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organizations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. In Ireland, we are a team of brand, reputation, research and digital strategists who drive award-winning creative communication programmes. We have deep expertise in consumer trends, research, analytics and insights, corporate reputation, health, technology, crisis and government affairs.

Edelman was awarded the Grand Prix Cannes Lion for PR in 2014; six Cannes Lions in 2015; and the Grand Prix in the Titanium category in 2016. The firm was named “2016 Global Agency of the Year” by the Holmes Report, and one of Advertising Age’s “Agencies to Watch” in 2014. In 2015, Edelman was among Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” for the fourth time. Edelman owns specialty firms Edelman Intelligence (research) and United Entertainment Group (entertainment, sports, experiential), a joint venture with United Talent Agency. Visit for more information.



The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer is the firm’s 17th annual trust and credibility survey. The survey was done by research firm Edelman Intelligence and consisted of 25-minute online interviews conducted on October 13th – November 16th, 2016 with supplementary research carried out in the intervening period. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer online survey sampled more than 33,000 respondents consisting of 1,150 general population respondents in each country aged 18 and over and 500 informed public respondents in the U.S. and China and 200 informed public respondents in all other countries across 28 markets. All informed publics met the following criteria: ages 25-64, college-educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business/news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week.

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