Immigration & Refugee Protection in Ireland: An Analysis of Public Attitudes


The Irish research into public attitudes towards immigration and refugee protection was commissioned by The Social Change Initiative to inform policy-makers and support the work of civil society organisations working on these issues. It is one of a suite of reports that were undertaken in France, Germany, Italy and Greece by More in Common, in partnership with The Social Change Initiative. The programme was funded by the Human Dignity Foundation (Ireland), with support also being made available for similar research in The Netherlands. As such, this research forms part of a larger initiative to support effective communications for individual activists and organisations with an interest in immigration and refugee protection issues. But it will also be of interest to those who are committed to address the threats to open and inclusive societies.

In the Republic of Ireland the study benefited from the guidance and advice of NGO practitioners, while the methodology was adapted by Martha Fanning Research and Bricolage to complete both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the work. The Social Change Initiative is grateful for the interest and expertise of the Irish advisers and experts. This report provides insight into Irish opinions about their country, its perceived prospects and place in the world as well as attitudes to immigration and refugee protection policies. It recognises the already established link between the state of the Irish economy and a country that essentially sees itself as welcome and open. Ireland has not experienced the rise in xenophobic nationalism and nativism that has occurred in many other European countries, but equally it has not been to the forefront in accepting large numbers of people seeking refuge, or indeed putting systems in place to appropriately support non-Irish born refugees and migrants. Thus, any sense of complacency is misplaced.