Ireland’s population surges after highest immigration figures for almost 2 decades

By Thomas Brooke
5 Min Read

The Republic of Ireland’s population has grown by almost 2 percent in a year after 141,600 immigrants entered the country between April 2022 and April 2023 — the highest total in a twelve-month period for nearly two decades.

Data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows the extent of the recent immigration influx into the country as more people flocked to the island nation than during the 2016 migrant crisis.

The latest figure is only surpassed in recent history during the years of the Celtic Tiger, a term referring to the economic boom experienced in the country at the turn of the century.

More than half of new arrivals during the current period originated from outside the European Union, the majority of which are understood to be Ukrainian refugees.

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The immigration surge now sees the Irish population estimated at 5,281,600, up by 97,600 on the previously reported figure last year and an increase of almost 2 percent.

This equates to the population of the United States increasing by around 7 million in a year, or Germany’s by 1.7 million.

“It’s very difficult for an economy to be building and absorbing that number of people in terms of housing, the bits of the economy that are difficult to throw up overnight,” Prof. Alan Barrett, director of the Economic and Social Research Institute, told the Irish Times.

Commenting on the data, the Irish Freedom Party which opposes mass immigration lamented the population surge which it claimed has a detrimental effect on working-class citizens.

“We don’t have the housing or infrastructure for this extraordinary increase in population. Mass immigration pushes up rents and lowers wages,” the party said.

The party’s president, Hermann Kelly, told Remix News: “A huge population increase while the Irish birth rate is well below replacement level means that many foreign migrants attracted by offers of work or high welfare payments are flooding into Ireland.

“It’s terrible that at the same time, many well-educated Irish twenty-somethings are emigrating because they cannot afford to buy a home in the midst of this immigrant-fueled housing crisis.”

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The influx of new arrivals coincides with record levels of homelessness reported earlier this year, with Department of Housing data recording 8,835 adults and 3,765 children living in emergency accommodation in June. The figure had risen by around 20 percent from June last year.

Mattie McGrath, an independent MP called for a referendum on immigration after the publication of this data and recent polling revealed that 75 percent of Irish people think the country is taking in too many refugees.

“This is total open borders. We have 12,000 homeless ourselves. And the money we are spending on this situation is unbelievable,” he told the Gript media outlet.

Discontent over the government’s liberal immigration and asylum policy has been brewing in Ireland for some time, as local residents in areas with large numbers of asylum seekers expressing their concern over a saturation of public services and worries over public safety.

As the Gript reports, crime has soared in Ireland over the past 12 months, and in the case of murders, they have nearly doubled.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) for 2023, up to the end of June, show that there were 71 killings (murders and manslaughter) in the first six months of 2023 compared to the same timeframe as last, representing an increase of 31 percent. Murders, however, accounted for 47 of these killings, while in the same period last year they were only 24

There were also 410 more robbery, extortion and hijacking cases to reach a total of 2,328 such incidents this year, representing a 21 percent increase.

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