Following the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland on the 25th and 26th August, The Irish Times commissioned Ipsos MRBI to conduct an opinion poll among a sample of 750 adults aged 18 and over. Interviewing was conducted over the telephone on 27th August among a random sample of the population, with weightings applied to align the sample with the known profile of the Irish population at analysis stage.
The Pope’s visit came at a time when abuse within the church in the US was receiving much media attention, which no doubt served as a reminder to many people in Ireland of the abuse of children and mothers within the church over many decades.
Against this background, the Irish population as a whole were nonetheless mostly in favour of the Pope’s visit (57%), even if many did not think the Government should have contributed financially to his visit (51% were against the state making a financial contribution).
The poll also revealed that the Irish are far more likely to hold the view that Pope Francis is a positive for the Church (38%) than a negative (4%). However, a majority (55%) felt he did not go far enough during his visit to address the issue of child abuse and other failings within the church.
Fundamentally, there remains a divergence between the views of the church and the views of the Catholic population in Ireland. The poll confirmed a preference among Irish Catholics for their church to adopt a more liberal stance on a variety of important issues. The poll revealed:
- 89% in favour of priests being allowed to marry
- 85% in favour of women being allowed to become priests
- 91% in support of contraception in all circumstances
- 76% in support of the church recognising gay marriages
Full coverage of the poll findings can be found by visiting www.irishtimes.com
Extracts from the report may be quoted or published on condition that due acknowledgement is given to: The Irish Times and Ipsos MRBI.