Attitudes to immigrants becoming more negative
ATTITUDES to immigrants have become more negative over the past five years with the poverty gap between Irish and non-Irish continuing to widen, a new report reveals.
In 2002, just 6pc of Irish nationals said no immigrants from poor non-EU countries should be allowed into Ireland.
But that figure had grown to more than one in five (22pc) by 2010 according to the ESRI report.
Comparing Irish attitudes to those Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the UK, the report shows that both in terms of attitudes to immigrants and resistance to immigration, Ireland displayed some of the more negative attitudes, similar in many respects to the UK.
According to the ESRI, while there has been a rapid increase in the numbers of immigrants getting Irish citizenship, views on their contribution to the economy have become more negative than those on their contribution to cultural life.
Growing negative attitudes to immigrants, especially among the over-65s, are revealed in the Annual Monitoring Report on Integration 2012.
It shows that the consistent poverty rate among non-EU nationals, at more than 12pc, was almost twice as high as as amongst Irish nationals.
The jobless rate between the two groups also remains substantial with an unemployment rate of 18.5pc among non-Irish nationals last year compared to under 15pc for Irish nationals.
Report author Dr Frances McGinnity said: "The change in attitudes is modest, but of concern. It is also worth noting the fact that between 2005 and the end of 2011, 34,500 adults of non-EEA origin acquired Irish citizenship. This represents significant progress towards the integration of immigrants in Ireland."
Killian Forde, CEO of The Integration Centre, said: "The government needs to create a national policy on integration, and co-ordinate activities between government departments on integration.