Public opinion and development issues: a survey of Irish university student opinions
Connolly, Eileen and Doyle, John and Dwyer, Fiona (2008) Public opinion and development issues: a survey of Irish university student opinions. Irish Studies in International Affairs,, 19 . pp. 209-226. ISSN 0332-1460
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Surveys of Irish public opinion on international development assistance have shown high levels of support combined with relatively low levels of knowledge. This article discusses the finding of a survey of university students in Ireland in 2006-7. The results suggest that the attitudes of students in Ireland closely mirror that of the wider population. They are supportive of aid and think official aid from the government should be increased. Irish development NGOs are seen as the public face of development assistance and there is little recognition of Irish Aid – the state’s official development agency. While there is awareness of the importance of structural issues such as trade access and debt relief, the spontaneous responses to what needs to be done to allow development still focus on aid and volunteering. Students are already persuaded that development is important and are motivated to donate or act, development education efforts however need to focus more on creating a better understanding of the causes of underdevelopment and the structural factors relating to interactions between wealthy and poor states.
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