85% believe that everyone should be treated equally: new poll

Nationwide survey provides insights on public perception of racism, International Protection and human rights

The vast majority of people in Ireland (85%) believe everyone should be treated equally, regardless of who you are or where you come from, while only 30% of people think the government is doing enough to address racism. The insights come from a survey commissioned by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘The Commission’) and released today to mark International Human Rights Day, 10th December 2023.

The poll highlighted the high value attached to human rights and equality in Ireland, with more than 9 in 10 people (92%) responding that human rights are important for creating a fairer society. Just 10% disagreed with the statement that Ireland benefits as a whole from being a more inclusive and diverse society.

In contrast to the strong positive attitude towards human rights, only 46% of people believed that everyone in Ireland enjoys the same basic human rights. This imbalance between the value attributed to human rights and perception of the reality on the ground was strikingly demonstrated when exploring incidents of racism.

More than 1 in 4 (26%) of those surveyed who are not of white Irish ethnicity reported having experienced racism in the past 12 months, as have 17% of those with another citizenship than Irish. Almost one in three (31%) reported to having witnessed racism in Ireland during the same period, a statistic that was higher among the 18-24 year olds (52%).

The poll also examined attitudes towards International Protection and direct provision, with almost two in three of the respondents (64%) expressing a desire for the Government to set a clear end date for direct provision, while less than one in three (31%) felt that tented accommodation was appropriate for people seeking International Protection in Ireland.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner said,

“This poll confirms that the vast majority of Irish people are committed to having a fair and equal society. And they want more progress towards equality, not less.

This year, we welcomed the Government’s publication of the National Action Plan Against Racism, but we remain concerned at the lack of accountability in the programme, and we urge its immediate implementation. In light of recent events, not least the stirring up of anti-immigrant sentiment by far-right groups, it is crucial that this plan is implemented with clear targets, timeframes and budget lines if it is to make sustainable impact in the long term.

It is clear from this survey that Irish society is open and welcoming, that it rejects racism, and deeply values human rights and equality. The State’s approach to combatting racism and supporting those who seek our protection must reflect those values closely.”



For further information, please contact:
Sarah Clarkin, IHREC Communications Manager,
01 852 9641 / 087 468 7760
Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Notes for Editors: The Annual IHREC Poll was conducted by B&A on behalf of IHREC. The results were generated from a nationally representative sample of 1,201 adults aged 18+ years. It is based on CSO/AIMRO data. Quotas were implemented on gender, age, region and social class to ensure a nationally representative sample of the adult population in the Republic of Ireland and corrective weighting was applied by gender, age, social class and region to ensure a fully representative sample in accordance with latest data. Fieldwork dates between 7 to 21st October 2023.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.