Monday, September 15, 2008
Almost two-thirds of adults in the Irish Republic believe immigration policy should be made more restrictive given the worsening economic outlook
The survey by Amárach Research for a national integration debate due to be held in Dublin found generally positive attitudes towards recent immigration, with 54% saying it had on balance been good for Ireland. Some 33% felt immigration had been bad for the country and 13% believed it had made little difference. When asked about future policy, however, given the economic outlook, 66% felt immigration policy should be made more restrictive. 7% said it should be made less restrictive and 27% felt the policy should be left as it is. Women, the over-55s, middle-income earners and those from Munster were more likely to favor tighter restrictions. The poll was conducted among a sample of 1,000 adults in the Irish Republic. Some of the respondents were themselves foreign nationals, but they represented too small a subsample to be separated for analysis. Gerard O'Neill, chairman of Amárach Research, said respondents had distinguished between their views of recent immigration - which were very positive - and their concerns about future levels. "People are now saying we couldn't continue as we have been given the new economic realities that we're facing. It's saying there isn't a problem now, but there's a concern that were things to continue at a pace similar to the past 10 years, then it may well give rise to a problem," he added.