Anti-immigrant feelings are rising steeply in Ireland according to a new survey.
In 2006 just 6 per cent of Irish wanted to stop new immigrants coming in, and that figure is now 22 per cent.
The study by the Economic and Social Research Institute, on integration, found that attitudes to immigrants among Irish people had changed dramatically.
“The evidence seems to suggest that rapid growth in the immigrant population, followed by economic recession, has resulted in increased concerns about, and resistance to, immigration in Ireland,” said Dr Frances McGinnity, author of the report.
Despite the recession immigrants represented 17 per cent of the population. Though 172,000 left because of recession they were replaced by 148,000 entering .
Ireland has gone from being among the most liberal when the economy was good to among the most hostile now. Only Britain among other European countries studied had a stronger negative attitude.
Killian Forde of The Integration Centre stated that the key steps for successful integration were an active government policy and a welcoming attitude. Ireland had neither he said.
"On the former (government policy) we have none, and the latter negative attitudes towards migrants are increasing. The government, as a matter of urgency, need to create a national policy on integration, and co-ordinate activities between government departments on integration."
"We find that positive attitudes towards immigrants increase from 2002 to 2004, and then decrease after 2006, reaching an all-time low in 2010, with more respondents reporting that immigrants make the country a worse place to live than did in 2002," the report stated.
The time frames closely mirror the Celtic Tiger era as more positive towards immigrants and the negative feelings coincide with the recession.
Over 500,000 immigrants were present in Ireland on census night April 2012.
Dr Frances McGinnity, a senior researcher, said the recession has led to a spike in anti immigrant sentiment.
"The evidence seems to suggest that rapid growth in the immigrant population, followed by economic recession, has resulted in increased concerns about, and resistance to, immigration in Ireland," she added. "The change in attitudes is modest, but of concern."