People's attitudes towards others, particularly those who differ in some way, can be quite revealing. Ireland has had a great deal of migration in recent years and the question of our tolerance towards foreign nationals is a topical one.
So whats the evidence? The ESS asked people whether they thought immigrants made the country better or worse. On a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being better) we average about 5.5, hardly a ringing endorsement. Here is the geographical distribution: the Midlands and the West lag behind the rest of the country. People's anwers to the question may depend on whether they perceive their own situation to be threatened by the presence of immigrants for example through competition by foreign workers.
So what about a group who, arguably, pose no threat so that there is no question of a vested interest?Respondents were also asked whether they thought homosexuals should be free to live their life as they wish. About 80% agreed with the statement but there are some interesting regional differences with the West and South-West lagging behind.