Polling shows importance of integration measures in maintaining the Irish Cead Mile Failte

Wed, December 12, 2018

JOINT PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release

Polling shows importance of integration measures in maintaining the Irish Cead Mile Failte

Headline findings:

  • 74% agree no child should grow up undocumented in Ireland (only 5% disagreed)
  • 60% of survey respondents agree that people living in Ireland for a long time should be able to become citizens (just 15% disagree)
  • 70% of survey respondents believe refugee and asylum seeking children should have equal access to education and training
  • Two-thirds (66%) agree everyone should be treated fairly when the Government is making laws

David Stanton, T.D, Minister for Equality, Immigration and Integration today launched a new report – “Attitudes Towards Refugees, Immigrants and National Identity in Ireland” published by Social Change Initiative.

The report shows that Irish people view themselves as open, tolerant, optimistic and welcoming when it comes to the integration of refugees and migrants.

The Social Change Initiative undertook polling [attached] to provide insight into Irish opinions on attitudes towards immigration and refugee protection. Similar polling was undertaken in four other European countries, France, Germany, Greece and Italy; with Irish people coming out as more welcoming than many of their European counterparts.

Minister for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton said:

“This report by the Social Change Initiative provides us with fresh insight into public perceptions of migrants and migration in Ireland. It is encouraging to see the largely positive and welcoming attitudes to migrants. We must also be conscious of any less positive attitudes that exist and work to understand and address the issues and concerns that people raise. We will draw on the findings of the report and other evidence in shaping future policy and actions.”

Migrant organisations including the Irish Refugee Council, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Doras Luimni, Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre and the Children’s Rights Alliance are supporting the launch.

Fiona Finn, CEO, Nasc – the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre, said, “A feeling of solidarity with migrants, particularly with refugees seeking protection, is evident from the polling, with a majority of people agreeing Ireland should offer protection to people fleeing persecution. Many people also believe that increasing diversity as a result of migration has increased opportunities for everyone in Ireland.”

Areas for discussion

The survey also identifies areas of concern, in particular in relation to public concerns about the impact of migration. These concerns indicate the need for efforts to be put into public awareness raising campaigns alongside implementation of a strong proactive integration strategy, to ensure that negative attitudes towards migrants and refuges living in Ireland, based on mistruths and a lack of information, do not perpetuate.

Pippa Woolnough, Communications and Advocacy Manager, added, “It is clear from the research that some people have concerns and anxiety about migration, but the majority felt they could express themselves on subjects like migration, pointing to the importance of civic dialogue and engagement, and proactive efforts to promote positive integration; thankfully only a small number held expressly negative attitudes.”

“For years now people have come to Ireland from different backgrounds with different beliefs. So long as they work hard and contribute to society there is room and a welcome for them here.”

Participant in the research

Annmarie Benedict, Migration Narrative Executive, Social Change Initiative, said, “Homelessness, housing and healthcare featured heavily as the dominant societal issues in Ireland, with just nine percent of the people polled citing migration as a major concern. However, the research did find a clear correlation between the level of concern people felt about the economy and the pressure on public services, and their feelings about migration.

“Findings indicate a need for further public awareness raising on the positive economic impact migration has and a clearer understanding of the rights and entitlements that different migrant people have while in Ireland.”

Additional information and a link to the report is available here.

Organisations supporting today’s launch include:

Children’s Rights Alliance

Doras Luimní

Immigrant Council of Ireland

Irish Refugee Council

Nasc, the Migrant Refugee and Rights Centre