IRISH people have a strong level of intolerance for nonnationals, according to the results of an opinion poll commissioned by the Sunday Tribune.

Almost 80% of respondents to the Sunday Tribune/Millward Brown IMS poll said the government should restrict the number of non-nationals it accepts into the country. The poll also shows that a significant proportion of the population have little contact with people from a non-national background, with two thirds of respondents saying they had no non-national friends.

While almost 80% of respondents agreed with the statement, 'It is good that children in Ireland today are growing up in a multi-cultural society', 30% of respondents said they would not want their son or daughter to marry a non-national while 43% said they would reconsider buying a house if they knew a lot of non-nationals lived in the area.

When presented with the statement 'Non-nationals are too much of a drain on our social welfare system' a majority (56%) either agreed or strongly agreed. There was even higher acceptance of this view among those from a farming background (73%) and over the age of 65 years (66%).

Just over half of respondents (51%) agreed that it was great to have non-nationals living in their local community. However, there was considerable regional variation in attitudes on this issue, with almost two thirds of those living in Dublin responding positively to the idea, but agreement declining in Munster to 51% and in Connacht/Ulster to 40%.

Two thirds of respondents said justice minister Michael McDowell was correct to reverse the deportation order made against Nigerian-born Leaving Cert student Kunle Elukanlo.

Some 77% of respondents agreed that Irish people living illegally in the US should be allowed to legally stay there.

There was somewhat less support (66%) for allowing nonnationals waiting for decisions on their Irish residence applications to stay in Ireland.