Exclusive Survey by Lansdowne Market Research
National Attitudes towards Multicultural Ireland
As a nation, having spent a century emigrating to other countries, and being stuck in a parochial pool of our own making, it is encouraging that we now see far more benefits from foreign nationals immigrating to Ireland than negatives. Maybe it is precisely because of our history that we see so many positives, with most agreeing that we are better off as a country because of the multiculturalism that has occurred in the past decade, and 4 in 10 strongly supporting this view. Lower socio economic groups and the generation over 65 years old are less clear as to the advantages and potentially feel greater threat from this change.
For a number of years there was concern, well covered in the press, over the flow of non-nationals into Ireland. Whether it is Government action and/or people becoming more accepting of non-nationals, most (young and old) feel this issue has and is now being addressed with a better controls.
At the core of peoples positive attitudes towards Irelands growing cultural diversity is the belief that it has made the country a more interesting place to live in. Those aged 25-64 believe this more so than younger adults, possibly because they recall a time when Ireland had few immigrants, while those aged under 25 have known no different.
One way in which immigration has benefited Ireland is the greater diversity of goods and services it has brought to the country, and this is something that younger consumers aged 15-25 certainly do appreciate. In fact, most people agree with this, except the older generation who possibly have less exposure or demand for these goods and services.
While most agree that Ireland needs this immigration to continue to fuel its growth, there is a significant minority who do not agree with this, especially lower socio economic groups and those under 25 years of age. Despite Irelands very low unemployment, many might still believe that immigrants are taking jobs from Irish people. The link between our prosperity and immigration needs to be communicated, not only for its truth but also because those who appreciate this fact are more positive towards immigrants in general.
With all these positive aspects to Irelands changing face, do people think the uglier side, that of racism, could show itself? While it may not until times get tougher, people are in no doubt that it could become a significant issue. Much of which might come from what has been witnessed occurring in other countries. Lets just hope that, as a nation, we have banished the parochial days of the past to the history books.
Nationally representative sample aged 15+ conducted via telephone on Lansdowne Market Research's fortnightly telephone Omnibus. Quotas set on gender, age, social class and telephone region. Estimated margin of error +/- 3.2%