Survey finds 84pc of Irish people open to installing a contact-tracing app

18 May 2020

Image: © fotogestoeber/

The latest results of a nationwide survey have suggested that many Irish people are open to downloading a coronavirus contact-tracing app.

With the Irish contact-tracing app set to go live this month, a national survey has suggested that the vast majority of people in Ireland would consider downloading it. Most of the respondents (84pc) said they would consider installing the app if it would help ease existing movement and gathering restrictions.

The findings are part of the third phase of the Corona Citizens’ Science Study involving researchers from Dublin City University (DCU), NUI Galway and the SFI Insight Centre for Data Analytics. More than 8,700 people from across the country took part in the survey.

“The response from those surveyed appears to be quite positively disposed towards installing a contact-tracing app, on the premise that it would lead to a lifting of restrictions,” said DCU’s Prof Anthony Staines, one of the joint-lead researchers on the survey.

“We understand that plans are in place to roll out a contact-tracing app with an opt-in clause, and it will be interesting to ascertain the depth of the digital divide nationwide with it.”

On the issue of mental health during the pandemic, 60pc of respondents said they were feeling more anxious since it started. More than three-quarters (78pc) of those said they feared that they or a family member may catch the coronavirus, 40pc said they were worried about developing other health problems, and 30pc said they were worried about the relaxation of restrictions and their finances.

Healthcare appointments still being postponed

Women and younger people were generally feeling more anxious and ill at ease, in contrast to older respondents, according to the survey. The researchers attributed this to a greater change in circumstances for younger as opposed to older respondents.

Across the three surveys that have been conducted, the researchers found consistent responses when it comes to medical treatment. In last month’s survey, nearly one-third of respondents reported postponing medical treatment or check-ups. This time, 31pc said they had postponed check-ups or medical treatment, with 56pc of that number saying it was because a healthcare professional wasn’t seeing any patients at the moment.

A third (32pc) said that they didn’t want to create an extra burden, down from 39pc in the last survey. Meanwhile, 23pc said they were worried of contracting Covid-19 by seeking treatment, down from 29pc the last time.

Dr NUI Galway’s Dr Akke Vellinga, another joint lead on the study, said: “It is worrying that there is a consistent level of cancelled and postponed medical appointments which will have a knock-on effect and major medical issues will emerge further down the line.

“Interestingly, our younger respondents are reporting greater levels of anxiety than older respondents and while the pandemic is impacting all of society, it is impacting younger cohorts in very specific ways.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic