The Community Foundation of Ireland in a recent survey found that Irish people consider religion and spirituality to be the least important aspect of their lives, and reveals a holistic view of Irish life. Irish Central reports:
Overall, Ireland received a C+. In the 12 areas, Ireland scored best with a B+ for Arts and Culture. Education and learning received a C+ and Safety also received a C+. One of the areas Irish people were least satisfied with was work, equality, and financial well being, which received a C-. This grade was likely impacted by the recent economic crisis. Other areas Irish people were least satisfied with were housing, also earning a C- and health and well being, also a C-.
BreakingNews.ie quoted Tina Roche, CEO of The Community Foundation for Ireland, “Ireland’s VitalSigns 2013 tells us what makes Ireland vibrant and what we have to celebrate. The report also highlights a number of gaps and challenges that we are facing.” She added, “Identifying the areas that need improving and are the most important to people provides us with an opportunity to create change and have a positive impact.”
Education is the most important issue to Irish people; BreakingNews.ie reports that over 1,000 people responded to the survey, leaving nearly 7,000 comments. According to a 1991 survey, over 92% of Irish identify as being Roman Catholic, with the most recent controversy over religion being the death of non-Irish visitor Savita Halappanavar after the Irish hospital she was in refused to give her an abortion after she went septic during her pregnancy last year. Divisions over religion between Protestant and Catholic have marked the history of the country with the independent Republic of Ireland maintaining a mostly Catholic following and Northern Ireland remaining largely Protestant, and supporting British rule. In a study done by American researchers in 2011 (and with an Irish theologian in agreement with the findings), it was found that the Irish are losing their religion at a faster rate than any other Western country, and like the United States, more of the population are defining themeselves as "nones." Irish Central, in an article done about the study added:
In Ireland, the numbers who defined themselves as having no religious affiliation grew from 1,000 in 1961 to 186,000 in 2006.
The number defining themselves as Roman Catholics dropped from 95% in 1961 to 87% in 2006.
“The fastest growing trend in Ireland is for people to state they are unaffiliated to any organized religion,” stated Abrams.
“The findings were quite stark in Ireland particularly as it has gone from being a very religious country to a much less religious one in a short space of time.
“Only 0.04% of the Irish population said they were not affiliated to a religion in the 1961 census compared to 4.2% in 2006.
“Based on our model, 39% of the population in Ireland will describe themselves as unaffiliated by 2050.”