Table of Contents

Introduction

Following in on from last week’s report, part 2 examines how young people feel about the government’s response to the pandemic and their confidence in its future. 

Travelling abroad

Summer travel is commonplace for young people, especially college students but Covid-19 has disrupted those plans. Since March, only 11% of young people have travelled abroad. 

Pie chart of travelling abroad during the COVID-19 lockdown, where 88.7% respondent said they haven't travelled abroad since March

Unfortunately, that figure won’t increase drastically into the near future. Over 50% of our respondents don’t think they will be travelling abroad until one year after the initial outbreak in Ireland, with some even saying they won’t travel until it is safe to do so. 

Row chart of when respondents plan to travel abroad again, where 28% expect to travel again in June-December 2021

Unemployment Benefits

At least a third of our respondents disapprove of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, extending until April 2021. At one stage, over 250,000 people were claiming the payment in late March. The benefit was initially €350 per week for anyone who earned over €200 and had lost their job due to the pandemic. In September, it will be reduced to €300 and closed to all new applicants. 

Pie chart of approval of teh COVID-19 Unemployment payment extension where 66.8% of respondents approve of it being extended until April 2021

The most significant complaint regarding the payment was that many recipients were being paid more by the government than they were earning from their previous job, which was often directed towards college students and part-time workers. In general, there were lots of concerns about people abusing and free-riding the system. Another concern was that the massive increase in welfare would lead to higher taxes and more debt in the future. One respondent noted:

This pandemic is going to affect the country for a long time and it is not sustainable to continue to pay such vast quantities of money.

Survey Respondent

Others objected to the length of the extension, suggesting that it should be continued on month by month basis as the economic environment may have improved by then. Another complaint was about the fact that the payment is unavailable to under 18s, even though there are under 18s working full-time who need the money more than older part-time workers.

Regardless, the majority of young people agree with the extension; many feel the payment is the only way to look after the unemployed and vulnerable in society. As one respondent said:

It is the government's call to shut down certain sectors and should be their responsibility to look after those who have lost their skilled work and chosen jobs due to this.

Survey Respondent

Confidence in the government

We asked respondents to what extent do they agree with the following statements:

  • “I am confident the government will help minimise the spread of COVID-19”
  • “I am confident the government will help the economy bounce back from COVID-19”
  • “I am confident in the current government to deliver on their policy expectations”

Over 50% of people agreed with the first statement that the government will help to minimise the spread of COVID-19. A slightly smaller amount agreed that the current government will fulfil its policy expectations. However, almost 35% of respondents were unsure if the government would help the economy bounce back, with 26% strongly disagreeing with the statement. 

Outlook

Generally, young people are happy with the government’s response to COVID-19 but are still worried about the economy.

  • Many are worried about travelling abroad and don’t plan to travel until March 2021
  • The unemployment payment was generally supported. Nonetheless, there were many concerns connected with abusing the system and burden on the taxpayer.
  • Young people are most confident in the government’s approach to minimising the spread of COVID-19; however, there is significant doubt regarding the government’s ability to help the economy.

Missed Part 1 of our COVID-19 report? Catch up here.

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