Differences in opinions between various study groups are expected to become apparent. These differences will help to determine the amount of bias present in opinions regarding housing discrimination among non-Irish nationals. Interpretation of these hypotheses will depend on the consistencies in opinion found between various groups.
The hypotheses will help to determine if the opinions of various groups in Dublin are biased. However, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts being examined, the following research questions will also be explored, in addition to the hypotheses. These research questions will be addressed through specific sets of survey questions.
1. Are there differences in opinion regarding the quality of housing between Irish and non-Irish nationals living in Dublin?
2. Are non-Irish nationals well educated, at least as much as the Irish national population in Ireland?
3. Do non-Irish nationals deserve to become home owners, as much as Irish nationals?
4. Are certain ethnic groups discriminated against more than others?
These research questions will provide the key to developing a greater understanding of the impact of discrimination on non-Irish nationals in obtaining fair housing.
Evidence exists to suggest that non-Irish nationals may be the subjects of housing discrimination in Ireland. However, the studies that do exist may be biased, as they only surveyed one group of people. By comparing the opinions of Irish nationals and non-Irish nationals a better perspective may be gained as to whether discrimination actually exists in regards to housing conditions amongst non-Irish nationals.
One of the key difficulties in assessing discrimination is that it is difficult to prove. If one only relied upon cases that were won in the court system, it is feared that the numbers may not reflect what is actually occurring in the world. However, if one surveys those that are the purported targets of discrimination, the numbers may be inflated. People may blame discrimination for their situation, when in fact, another factor is responsible for their condition. It is difficult to gauge the accuracy of a factor that has a high degree of subjectivity, such as discrimination. This research method will provide a means to gauge more accurately the degree of discrimination present in the housing market. It will compare the opinions of those that are supposedly discriminated against with those that are accused of doing the discrimination. This method is designed to provide a more balanced perspective on the topic.
This research will provide an excellent research methodology that can be used to explore many other similar topics concerning non-Irish living in Ireland. Previous studies laid the ground work for this study by suggesting that there is a need to study this topic. If discrimination is found in the sample population, then it may represent the need to develop policies to help eliminate these biases and provide housing to non-Irish in a fair and equitable manner, just as it does with their Irish counterparts.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
The premise for this study is based on discrepancies in housing styles and types in the 2006 Irish Census. The statistics that led to the undertaking of this research study are not readily discerned. They require that one read the census with a critical and analytical eye. To date, one can find support from the mass media the discriminatory practices are used in against those of non-Irish descent, but these sources are typically laden with opinion and unsupported by academic research. Many of the sources that can be located on the topic are highly biased and cannot be considered anything more than opinion.
The appearance of discrimination exists hidden within Census statistics. In addition to this source, several studies exist that suggest the presence of discrimination against non-Irish in terms of housing, jobs, and other factors (NACD, 2007). Academic research in this area was found to be scarce. That which was found contains too much bias to be considered valid. However, it does serve as an inspiration for the conduct of valid research regarding the presence of discrimination amongst non-Irish nationals living in Dublin.
The following explores the major sources located for use in this research study in depth. It provides a critical analysis of these sources. It may be noted that a considerable amount of time is spent on the Census information, as this work constituted a major piece upon which this research is based.
Housing Characteristics of Irish and non-Irish living in Ireland
Non-Irish often decide to set down roots on the Emerald Isle and become an important part of the Irish landscape. According to the 2006 Irish Census, a majority of non-Irish residents live in cities, with the fewest settling in small towns and rural areas (CSO, 2008). A survey of housing arrangements among the Irish and non-Irish residents in Ireland reveals that key differences exist between the Irish and non-Irish population (CSO, 2008). A breakdown of the housing arrangements by national origin reveals that owner occupied housing is the preferred choice among Irish nationals and UK national living in Ireland (CSO, 2008). However, amongst the other ethnic groups, renting is still the preferred method of attaining housing arrangements (CSO, 2008). No reasons were given for these preferences. An exploration of the reasons for this statistic led to the development of the hypothesis used in this research study.
Major differences were also observed in regards to the age of the dwelling among Irish and non-Irish residents. The largest percentage of Irish nationals live in homes built between 1961 to 1980 (CSO, 2008). Irish nationals have the widest distribution in home ages. Non-Irish tend to live in homes built 2001 or later (CSO, 2008). This may indicate a more recent wave of migration into Ireland. The reasons for this would make excellent future research, but are not included in the current research study. Interestingly, amongst both nationals and non-Irish, the fewest number of persons lived in houses built between 1991 o 1995 (CSO, 2008). During this time, Ireland was undergoing economic difficulties. This statistic may reflect those difficulties, as people could not obtain financing.
The number of detached dwellings was highest for UK headed households and Irish nationals (CSO, 2008). According to the Census, this was a result of a larger number from these groups living in rural settings. Among households headed by other national groups, over 35% lived in flats. While only 7% or Irish nationals live in flats (CSO, 2008). Semi-attached, or terraced dwellings was the most popular form of housing unit among all groups, Irish and non-Irish (CSO, 2008). These statistics are the keys that are quoted in the mass media and are considered support for the existence of discrimination amongst non-Irish nationals. However, these statistics alone are not conclusive evidence that discrimination exists in the Irish housing market against non-Irish.
There may be other factors at play, such as cultural differences that may be behind the statistics. It cannot be assumed that these numbers are a direct indication of bias in the general population. The media and popular literature were quick to make inferences and draw conclusions, but the Census did not indicate the reasons for these differences, only that they exist. These assumptions led to the need for further research into the causes of these differences in housing arrangements between Irish nationals and non-Irish nationals.
Other demographic trends from the Census
Differences in housing arrangements amongst the Irish and non-Irish populations trigger questions as to the reasons for these conditions. However, if one mines the data in the Census further, other characteristics emerge that also indicate the conditions that exist between the Irish and non-Irish in the country. If one looks beyond the type of housing to other factors within the household, a different picture is painted of the impoverished non-Irish on the dole.
Internet access indicates a certain degree of technical practical understanding and connectedness to the rest of the world. It gives a household access to resources that would not be available without it. The households that have internet access was approximately the same among all groups. However, it was about 20% higher in those from E15 to E25 accession states (CSO, 2008). Approximately 40% of all Irish citizens have Internet access, while about 25% have broadband access (CSO, 2008),
The percentage of households that do not have Internet access continues to shrink. These demographics were almost identical for the UK and Irish groups that participated in the survey. The non-Irish in Ireland are not anymore technologically disadvantaged than Irish nationals. This demonstrates a level of education, and employability. If Internet accessibility demonstrates no disparity between the Irish and non-Irish, it would not appear that the non-Irish are any less capable of being employed than the Irish.
Fundamental differences exist in age categorization between the Irish and non-Irish. The largest age category among the Irish nationals was from 20-44. The population of Irish nationals significantly drops off after age 45, with few Irish nationals…