An Irish Welcome? Changing Irish Attitudes to Immigrants and Immigration: The Role of Recession and Immigration

Frances McGinnity, Gillian Kingston


This paper investigates attitudes to immigrants in Ireland in the period 2002 to 2012 and the role of economic recession, the increase in immigration, and respondents’ level of education on understanding changing attitudes. Attitudes to immigrants in Ireland became more negative as unemployment rose, but once we account for this, a higher proportion of immigrants was associated with more positive attitudes. Highly educated respondents (with third-level qualifications) report more favourable attitudes to immigrants than those with lower education. The attitudes of those with lower education were more responsive to economic conditions, meaning the gap in attitudes between high and low educated widened in recession.


immigration; immigrants; recession; Ireland

Full Text: