Sunday, March 3, 2024

Why is Ireland no longer willing to accept immigrants? What does that mean for the next election? – Irish Times

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Voters want immigration restrictions to be suspended, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos B&A poll. Voters say immigration has been good for Ireland overall, but more closed-door policies are currently preferred.

Interviews for today’s poll were conducted between February 2nd and 6th with a representative sample of voters aged 18 and over. 120 locations covering all 39 constituencies were sampled and respondents were interviewed in their homes.

Surprisingly, given the huge influx of immigrants that coincided with the beginning of the Celtic Tiger era, immigration was not a major issue in Ireland for many decades. Our own history of immigration was often cited as an explanation for why immigration was not chaotic.

In the past, Ireland was able to set itself apart from other developed countries experiencing similar levels of immigration by welcoming immigrants. This is no longer the case. Ireland is now one of the countries most concerned about immigration, according to a global poll by Ipsos.

Today’s Irish Times/Ipsos B&A poll proves the public wants a more closed immigration policy, with 59 per cent in favor of reducing the number of immigrants coming to Ireland. However, only 16 percent prefer more open policies.

Policy preferences vary by population subgroup. But no single group supports more open policies.

Connacht/Ulster residents (70%), people from farming backgrounds (70%), working class respondents (68%) and respondents aged 65 and over are most likely to want a more restrictive approach to immigration. (66%). percent).

Sinn Féin voters are the most supportive of immigration restrictions, with 72% supporting more closed-door policies.

Survey respondents clearly have concerns about hosting refugees and asylum seekers locally. Most respondents are concerned about housing (82%), how thoroughly refugees and asylum seekers are vetted (80%) and how local health and education services will respond (75%). The majority agree. Opinions were divided only on the potential impact on the local economy (49% concerned).

Voters were also asked whether they opposed hosting refugees and asylum seekers locally. Although the survey did not explore what form this opposition would take, a significant 31% believe it would be opposed. Sinn Féin voters were most likely to oppose the bill, at 47%.

Today’s poll also examined attitudes toward encouraging Ukrainians to return home if it is safe to do so. Overall, voters approve of the idea (71 percent), with relatively few people opposed (17 percent).

Clearly, there is a mood across the country for change when it comes to immigration policy. In an election year, immigration is likely to feature in political messages and manifestos.

When asked if they were more or less likely to vote for a candidate who expressed concerns about immigration, respondents were somewhat cautious, with 30% saying they were more or less likely to vote and 20% saying they were less likely to vote. 40% said it would make no difference either way. .

The fact that 30 percent of voters are attracted to candidates who express concerns about immigration does not go unnoticed. After all, 30 percent is more than a quota in most constituencies.

Current Sinn Féin voters (38%) and supporters of smaller parties and independents (42%) would be most likely to accept a candidate proposing tougher immigration regulations.

From a purely political perspective, the “immigration” platform is by no means a unilateral gamble. There will likely be resistance from some quarters to making immigration an election issue. Fine Gael, Green Party and Labor voters are more likely to lose support than to support candidates who express concerns about immigration.

Finally, it is important to emphasize that voters are not opposed to immigration per se. Almost one in two (48%) think immigration has been a positive thing for Ireland, all things considered, compared with almost one in three (35%) who think it has been a negative thing. There is.

Immigration is a complex issue that requires careful analysis and thoughtful responses.

Damien Roscher is Managing Director of Ipsos MRBI Ireland

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