Irish Times poll: Voters favour limit on number of Ukrainians admitted into State

Voters believe Ireland should fulfil obligations to refugees but worry about numbers

Voters are concerned at the numbers of refugees coming to Ireland and favour a limit on the number of Ukrainians who are admitted into the country, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos poll.

But they also say that Ireland should “live up to its international obligations to protect people who are at risk”, the poll finds.

These differing findings, demonstrating a willingness to help refugees but also a concern at the numbers, come as the State grapples with the challenge of accommodating people fleeing the war in Ukraine and significant increases in people from other countries seeking asylum over recent months.

A large majority of respondents (84 per cent) to the poll said that they agreed with the statement “There is a limit to the number of asylum seekers and refugees Ireland can cope with”, while 60 per cent said they were concerned that “too many asylum seekers and refugees might come to Ireland”.


However, despite this, a large majority (82 per cent) also agree that “It is important that Ireland lives up to its international obligations to protect people who are at risk”. International law requires Ireland to offer protection to people who are risk from war or persecution in their home countries.


A clear majority also disagree with the Government’s policy of treating refugees from Ukraine differently to other refugees. At present, Ukrainians are automatically granted temporary protection in Ireland, while arrivals from other countries must go through a lengthy process to satisfy the authorities that they are entitled to international protection. Just over a quarter of voters (27 per cent) agreed with the statement “I think it is okay to treat Ukrainian asylum seekers and refugees differently to other people seeking refuge here”, while 66 per cent disagreed.

Asked if Ireland should “accept all Ukrainians who can make it here or should Ireland put a cap on the numbers”, almost three-quarters of voters said there should be a cap, with 23 per cent saying all arrivals should be accepted.

Other findings in today’s poll demonstrate the extent to which people are being squeezed by increases in the cost of living, and their enduring concern about the housing shortage. Figures from the Central Statistics Office on Thursday show consumer prices rose by an average of 9.1 per cent in the 12 months to June – the fastest rate of price growth seen in the Irish economy since 1984.

Poll_cost of living

Asked if they felt “personally affected by cost-of-living increases”, 84 per cent said they did, with just 15 per cent saying they were not.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) said they wanted Government to introduce measures to help with the cost of living now rather than wait until the budget, with just under a third saying the Government should wait.

A substantial minority (38 per cent) agreed that the cost of living is “largely out of the Government’s hands” but 56 per cent disagreed. And 54 per cent agreed that the Government “is responsible for cost of living increases”. Half of voters agree that the country “will just have to put up with cost of living increases for now”.

Just over a quarter (27 per cent) of poll respondents said they were “personally affected by the housing crisis”, while a similar proportion said the Government was “making progress on housing”. Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) did not agree progress was being made.

Poll Housing

Voters want to see more houses built even if house prices were to fall as a result (89 per cent) and want to see more social housing built even when there are local objections (84 per cent).

The poll was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies between July10th and 12th. Respondents were interviewed at their own homes. The accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times