[Positive] attitudes in the Republic towards immigration are plummetting

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One of the markers of the rise of the extreme right across Europe has been a concomitant drop in positive attitudes towards immigration. And, according to a new study of 12 European countries from the University of Limerick, the Republic has seen the most dramatic change:

Ireland, with Greece, experienced the largest decrease in positive attitudes to allowing immigrants into their countries during the time [2002-2010].

Alongside this change, Ireland had the highest proportion of respondents (49 per cent) who believed immigrants were “good” for the economy in 2006. However, this dropped by more than half, to 23 per cent by 2010, which was below the average for the 12 European countries (25 per cent).

The number of people who believed immigrants are “bad” for the economy also increased by 10 per cent in the 12 countries, between 2002 and 2010. In Ireland, the percentage of respondents with negative attitudes more than doubled from 16 per cent in 2006 to 38 per cent in 2010.

Authors of the study Drs Cross and Turner conclude that:

The determinants of social attitudes should be an important consideration for governments in the development of successful policies aimed at the social and economic integration of immigrants, something that is critical to the development of the EU.

Now is the time for this issue to be scrutinised by our politicians, as the changing demographic profile of the EU is likely to be the focus of the upcoming European Parliament election campaign.

[You mean like the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration that's working so well for Northern Ireland? - Ed] Erm, well yes. Or something.

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  • Politico68

    I think what the report shows more than anything else is a ‘fear factor’ among natives, not so much of immigrants but more so in terms of jobs and security and how an economy can support new arrivals when jobs are being lost and natives are moving away. I would not conclude that the study shows a rise of extreme xenophobia, but it is quite correct when it states that countries will have to address issues around immigration more comprehensively.

    With some exceptions, Irish people by and large seem to be very welcoming of foreigners despite the report. With the exception of Unionist attacks on foreigners that are frightening in their level of aggressiveness, no other region of the country seems to have that violent hostility built into their community psyche and hopefully that will remain the case.

  • Mick Fealty

    You won’t find too much of that in Britain either, but the report’s authors note that it could well be brewing up problems for the future if it is not addressed at a policy level.

    A few years ago here on Slugger when the migrant workers were flooding in, and some of our commenters were convinced that trends would reverse. Well it isn’t.

    Despite high levels of youth unemployment and out migration, just over 40,000 non-Irish people moved to Ireland between April 2012 and April 2013.

    It’s the violence of the sudden flip in attitudes that should be concerning, rather than the violence on the streets. Dr Cross notes:

    “…the severity of the economic crisis and rapid rise in unemployment in Ireland, Greece, and Spain provided a shock effect on attitudes to immigrants. In addition, it may be the case that these countries with a relatively short history of sizeable inward immigration have yet to cope with the adjustment required by downturns in the economic cycle in a multi-ethnic society.”

    The new citizenship ceremonies are a useful nod towards integration. But integration, per se, is not been noticeably successful part of the Irish political tradition (eg partition).

    I suspect the country is going to struggle in future, to successfully develop one (considering NI is in the grip of a low level cold war). Not least as the political scene becomes more and more volatile.

    That volatility points to a serious lack of national economic and social resilience which, whilst it should not be over exaggerated, nor should the challenges it entails be underestimated.

  • Politico68

    I agree, it will be a challenge and I am ashamed to say that I should probably know more about the situation in Ireland regarding the welfare and safety of immigrants. I think the visibility of people like Edmund Lukusa on the political scene might help too, it would be great to see him get elected, it would send out a very positive message.

  • Charles_Gould

    The south tends to be run by the rich for the super-rich.

  • Mick Fealty

    P68,

    It cannot hurt at all, though DW is a very competitive, his chances should be helped by being number two on a three person ticket and the meltdown of a big Labour stronghold.

  • Charles_Gould

    One problem that immigrants – not of a Catholic faith – have complained about is the lack of a multi-denominational education system down there.

  • hurdy gurdy man

    With some exceptions, Irish people by and large seem to be very welcoming of foreigners despite the report. With the exception of Unionist attacks on foreigners that are frightening in their level of aggressiveness, no other region of the country seems to have that violent hostility built into their community psyche and hopefully that will remain the case.

    ***YAWN***

  • Politico68

    Hurdy

    Sorry for waking u up a chara

  • Jeffrey

    Politico68 “With the exception of Unionist attacks on foreigners that are frightening in their level of aggressiveness, no other region of the country seems to have that violent hostility built into their community psyche and hopefully that will remain the case”…….such a sweeping statement…….you obviously never heard of Marek Muszynski, a Polish man beaten to death in Newry in 2009 by nationalists, they told him to go home to his own country as they jumped on his head and kicked him to death.

  • zep

    Honestly, Politico – what a puerile remark to make. I’m sure if I said that Polish people had “violent hostility built into their community psyche” I would be (rightly) declared to be a racist. What makes it OK for you to say that about Protestants (as that is what you are saying, even if you won’t actually express what you are thinking in clear terms).

    People like having people to blame. Got problems? It’s the immigrants. Or if you’re middle class – it’s the yobbish working classes. Or the Brits. Or Blair, or Thatcher, or whoever the ‘other’ is. Because we don’t like having to think about complex issues and accepting that there are multiple factors, including chance, at play in our lives, making them better or worse.

    Technology and travel advances have transformed the notion of nations and identity within 100 years (or maybe less). We as humans are playing catch-up with the social changes. Hopefully we can catch up quicker. On the recent attacks in EB, I was glad to see Gavin Robinson (a man who I have zero time for and will never cast a vote for) actually doing something of use, convening a meeting with various groups and interested parties in the area to come out in strong condemnation of them. It is certainly not in my name and I resent any implication otherwise just because this place labels me a certain religion.