An Irish Times Behaviour Attitudes survey “Sex, Sin and Society” took a sample of over 1,000 people from 100 locations in Ireland and has revealed increasingly progressive attitudes on social and political issues.
Unemployment (83%) is the issue of greatest political concern, followed by the financial crisis (77%) and the cutbacks (69%) and only 7% cited immigration as a major concern.
79% of all those surveyed think sex outside marriage is not immoral. 91% of people said they would not think any less of someone if they found out they were gay.
More than two thirds believe that gay marriage should be allowed. About half think gay couples should be able to adopt, with a majority of women, 18-44 year olds and those living in urban areas supporting this.
60% of under 45s would help a friend to have an abortion. This figure is 49% for all ages.
57% of people think that doctor-assisted suicide should be legalised for terminally ill patients who wish to end their own lives.
Almost 80% are in favour of the ordination of women priests in the Catholic Church, with almost 90% supportive of Catholic priest marriage.
Only 4% of young people view themselves as strongly religious. This is only 13% for the whole population. 84% said that fashions in clothes and media sexualise young girls at an early age.
Most people still don’t support a younger age of consent although men, under 20s and Dubliners are more likely to think that a younger age of consent is needed.
Under 40s have much more relaxed attitudes towards people’s personal relationships and sexual behaviour.
This survey shows a sea change in attitudes and a collapse of the influence of the Catholic church over Irish people. These results clearly indicate that much needed legal changes such as gay marriage and abortion rights have significant support, another strong argument for why they should be introduced.