79% of people believe preventing spread of COVID-19 is more important than burden of restrictions

A recent survey has shown that the majority of people would rather stop the spread of the virus once and for all over the early easing of restrictions.

The Public Opinion Tracking Survey showed that 79% of people were in favour of the restrictions in order to stop the spread of coronavirys, while just 10% of people disagreed with this.

The figures were released just days after a peaceful protest in Dublin's City Centre turned violent, with three gardai needing medical treatment following the incident.

23 people were arrested at the anti-lockdown protest, while many have since condemned the actions of those few, noting the lack of respect for those who are following health guidelines in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.

Professor Pete Lunn, Head of the Behavioural Research Unit, ESRI explained:

"Data from the Public Opinion Tracking Survey Research (Amrach/Department of Health) and from the new Social Activity Measure (ESRI/Department of the Taoiseach), give insight into how people are coping with the prolonged period of restrictions.

"The evidence shows that while people are finding it tough going, the large majority (79%) believe that preventing the spread of Covid-19 is more important than the burden of restrictions. Just 10% disagree."

Mr Lunn explained that these results match with the pattern of compliance being seen in recent weeks and months, "despite the frustrations that people feel."

He said; "Just because we feel a particular way, does not mean that this feeling dictates our behaviour. Rather, the large majority of people in Ireland support the restrictions and are sticking to them, despite the frustrations.

"The data also show systematic misperceptions about social activity.

"Presently, half the adult population does not meet up with anyone outside their household over a 48-hour period, with less than one quarter meeting up with three or more. Yet these more socially active people believe that they are meeting fewer people than average.

"There is a clear misperception.

"Most people believe that others are enjoying more of a social life than they are. Those who are in fact most socially active do not realise this. The finding is important, and we need to try to correct this misperception.

"When people appreciate the effort being made by others, they typically become more likely to follow."