Almost half of Irish people believe that taking in Syrian refugees will result in increased crime

A Newstalk/Red C poll has found that the Irish population has a polarised attitude towards the number of Syrian refugees

A new poll has indicated that the Irish population has a polarised attitude towards the number of Syrian refugees the Irish Government has committed to taking into Ireland.

The second in a series of exclusive Newstalk/Red C polls*, ahead of the general election, indicates that the majority of Irish residents (67%) do support the commitment by the government to take in 4000 refugees.

A third of all adults claim they believe 4000 is too many, but half believe it is just right, while one in five believe it is not enough and that we should take more.

The majority of all adults (68%) do not however believe that refugees should have an automatic entitlement to social welfare payments.


Almost half of all adults (49%) also believe that taking in 4,000 Syrian refugees will result in increased crime in Ireland, with those in both the youngest and oldest age groups most concerned.

Building on this concern about crime and apparent caution to bringing in refugees to the country, almost all adults (88%) believe that refugees should be Garda vetted before entering Ireland. The vetting process is complicated, here's what it involves.

However despite this, there remains an openness to accommodating refugees, with 6 in 10 claiming they are happy to have refugees live in close proximity to their home.

This openness is particularly seen more so in Dublin and among women, though farmers are also positive.


Local authority provided accommodation is considered most suitable for housing refugees, with 65% of all adults agreeing that these are suitable. Communal accommodation in direct provisions is also accepted, but to a lesser degree at just 43%.

Voluntary hosts (38%) and private accommodation such as hostels and hotels (26%) are not as strongly endorsed by the public, with least support for these options among the oldest 65+ age groups.

What does the research tell us?

Overall, it is clear that those who believe that taking in 4,000 refugees to be too many are overall much less positively disposed to refugees in general, and are significantly more likely to believe it will result in increased crime.

Commenting on the research Richard Colwell, CEO Red C Research says: "It is clear that Immigration is an issue that divides voters in Ireland.  A third of voters believe bringing in 4000 refugees from Syria is too many. Even more are concerned about the possible impact on increased Crime, with the majority demanding Garda vetting.

However, if assured by proper vetting the majority of Irish citizens retain their legendary welcome for outsiders, showing a clear desire to help at least the 4000 refugees that has been agreed, and an openness to accommodating them in close proximity to their homes."

Richard spoke to George Hook this evening about how Red C conducted the poll and the questions they asked those they surveyed:

To discuss the findings from the poll, Imam Ibrahim Noonan,  Irish born Imam based in Galway and Professor Ray Murphy from Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway, joined George Hook.

You can listen to their interview here:

Join the conversation on Twitter @ElectionNT #RealityCheck

*RED C interviewed a random representative sample of 1,008 adults aged 18+ by phone between the 25th and 27th of January.

A random digit dial (RDD) method of mobile and landline numbers was utilized in order to ensure a random selection of households to be included – this ensures all adults were eligible for selection including mobile only households and ex-directory households.

Interviews were conducted across the country and the results weighted to the profile of all adults.