A large majority of people favour a “more closed” immigration policy to reduce the number of people coming to Ireland, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos B&A opinion poll.
But many of their concerns relate to pressure on public services and housing, and a majority of people believe that immigration has been on balance a positive, the poll finds.
Almost six in 10 voters (59 per cent) favour a “more closed policy” on immigration, with 16 per cent backing a “more open” policy. But a majority of those who express a view (48 per cent) believe that immigration has been a positive for Ireland, with 35 per cent saying it has been a negative.
When asked about the prospect of accommodation for asylum seekers/refugees in their local area, 69 per cent say they would have “some concerns”. Large majorities agree that their concerns relate to services such as health and education and the pre-existing shortage of housing.
Asked if they would be more or less likely to vote for a candidate “who voiced concerns about immigration”, 30 per cent said they would be more likely, 20 per cent said they would be less likely, while 40 per cent said it would make no difference.
The poll data also shows that supporters of Sinn Féin are noticeably tougher on immigration questions than others. Sinn Féin supporters are the only ones who believe that immigration has been on balance a negative for Ireland.
The poll was conducted among a representative sample of 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies between February 2nd and February 6th. Respondents were interviewed at their own homes. The accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.
New figures from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth show there were over 834 new asylum seekers with no State-provided accommodation on Friday, up 92 since Tuesday.
Meanwhile, 10 of the people arrested in recent months for attacks on rumoured migrant accommodation live locally to where the attacks were carried out, leading gardaí to conclude that the attacks are not the work of organised groups.
Gardaí have been examining the various techniques used in the arson attacks and have found few patterns. The attacks occur on seemingly random days of the week, and involved a wide variety of methods. The most recent attack, the arson of a large house in Leixlip, Co Kildare, on Wednesday, involved the use of fire logs and coal.
Gardaí are also concerned arsonists are becoming more brazen. The Leixlip property was set ablaze despite regular Garda patrols in the area which were put in place following a previous failed arson attack a few weeks earlier.