More than one in two Irish people living abroad plan to return to Ireland for Christmas, according to a new survey.
This compares to the three in 10 who said they were thinking of coming home last year. The research, conducted by FRS Recruitment, aimed to determine Irish attitudes towards coming home for Christmas this year and how the public health situation is impacting travel plans.
Among Irish people living in the UK and the Middle East, almost two-thirds (64%) said they were likely to return, compared to 57% of those living in Europe, 74% of those living in the US and Canada, and 31% of those living in Australia and New Zealand.
When asked what factors were likely to influence their return or not, 38% answered that the cost of the trip was their main consideration. Almost nine in ten Irish people (89%) surveyed abroad said they had already traveled home for Christmas.
However, like last year, the uncertainty around Covid-19 remains a major consideration for people planning to reunite with loved ones here this Christmas.
37% of survey respondents said the current public health situation in Ireland was something that would influence their decision to return home. 23% said the Covid-19 situation in the country they currently reside in was the main consideration.
Despite lockdowns both at home and abroad, just under half of those polled (47%) said they had returned to Ireland since the start of the pandemic.
The study also asked participants what aspects of Christmas in Ireland they miss the most when living abroad. Unsurprisingly, 93% said spending time with friends and family was the top thing they missed the most.
“As it stands, one in two Irish people abroad still plan to go home for Christmas. Although this situation is subject to change, the investigation was carried out at a time when the worsening public health situation in Ireland was being reported and as the government was implementing further restrictions, ”the new said. CEO of FRS Network Group, Colin Donnery.
“It was also interesting to note that the cost of travel is the single most important factor influencing the decisions of Irish people abroad, closely followed by public health concerns – despite the growing number of infections that have made the news throughout this period. “
Mr Dennery said he would not be surprised if the attitude of Irish people living abroad changes in the coming weeks, especially if the health situation deteriorates further.
While Covid-19 has sadly separated some families over the past 18 months, closer to home it may bring some communities closer together.
Four in five Irish people believe their local community has been important to them throughout the pandemic, new research shows, with three in four saying it has played “a central role”.
The research, conducted by iReach on behalf of An Post, also found that the majority of people (70%) would now prefer to live in a small community or town rather than a town. A third of those surveyed (33%) said they had become more involved in community activities in the past year and a half than they had done before.