Almost one in three people in Ireland believe that the Government exaggerated the number of Covid-19 deaths during the pandemic, according to research commissioned by UCD.

The research – which involved a survey of 2,030 people – was carried out to investigate public trust in expertise, reveal the public's view on the pandemic, vaccination, and their belief in various Covid-19 conspiracies.

A total of 12,000 people across six European countries took part in the research. The other countries surveyed were the UK, Italy, Germany, Norway and Portugal.

Despite 31% of people in Ireland thinking the number of deaths from the virus were exaggerated, the majority still expressed a strong belief in the scientific consensus that Covid-19 vaccines are safe.

Around 75% of those surveyed in Ireland said it was true that nearly all scientists agreed on vaccine safety, while 16% thought otherwise - the largest recorded figure across the nations involved in the study.

Regarding the legacy of the pandemic, 78% of Irish respondents are concerned about its long-term impact, while 10% of them believe symptoms mostly blamed on coronavirus were linked to 5G network radiation.

Around 17% of UK participants hold this belief - the highest in the study – while Ireland is the lowest.

The feeling that Government is not honest and truthful was shared by 48% of Irish people in the first part of the study, with 58% thinking the Government communicates inaccurate and biased information.

On preventing future spreads of Covid-19, only one in three in Ireland said they would give part of their income in taxes to help, with the majority saying they would not.

Professor Maria Baghramian, Professor of Philosophy at UCD School of Philosophy, said that it was "very reassuring to see the low prevalence of belief in conspiracies around the pandemic in Ireland."

"Irish respondents, and those in Italy, also showed the highest rate of willingness to comply with coronavirus restrictions put in place by the government, with 88% of people saying that they always or sometimes do this," Prof Baghramian said.

"However, interestingly, over one third believe that the government is exaggerating the number of deaths from Covid-19. Following the results of the survey we released last week, I think the Irish show an admirably high level of trust in advice given by scientists, while distrusting information that comes from the government," she added.

The research was carried out as part of UCD's European Commission Horizon 2020 project PERITIA – Policy Expertise and Trust in Action.

The project, led by Prof Baghramian, is investigating the topic of public trust in experts, examining the role of science in policy decision making and the conditions under which people trust and rely on expert opinion that shapes public policy.

Separately, the number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital is currently at 191, latest figures show.

Of these, 18 are in intensive care.

Weekly updated official figures on the official Covid-19 Data Hub show that there were five Covid-19 deaths in the week to midnight last night, with a date of death in that week.

This differs from the weekly notified Covid-19 death figure of 70, on the same Covid-19 Data Hub, which is higher, as it also includes deaths with a date of death going back further in time, beyond the last week.

Additional reporting Fergal Bowers