Survey on Irish attitudes to Refugees

A survey on the attitudes of Irish people toward asylum seekers and refugees, was carried out by Rachel Revelle and Yifan Wang, two interns from Duke University (based in North Carolina, US) who worked with SPIRASI in July and August 2008. Over 200 respondants were asked to fill out a questionnaire to ascertain their knowledge and views on immigrant issues.While the sample base of the survey wasn’t large and not all demographic sections of Irish society were represented, some interesting conclusions could be drawn. One of the main conclusions was that there is still a lot of ignorance among Irish people about asylum,refugee and other immigration issues. Interesting findings were that 76% of respondants expressed sympathy for asylum seekers and 90% said they would welcome immigrants into their community. Also, 61% thought that asylum seekers should be allowed to work while waiting for a decision on their asylum application.However this sentiment was countered by the fact that only 29% said they would donate to NGOs working with refugees. Those who said they wouldn’t contribute did so for reasons including concerns about the Irish economy and negative perceptions that asylum seekers and refugees “abuse the social welfare system,” etc.It should be noted that the opinions expressed in the report and the conclusions drawn from the survey are those of the authors and they do not necessarily reflect the views of SPIRASI.

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