THE number of immigrants who settled in Ireland during the past decade is without precedent in the Western world, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) said yesterday.
Eastern Europeans made up over 4pc of the population by 2007 after being a negligible percentage of the population just five years earlier.
In Britain, the immigrant population rose by 2pc in the 30 years after 1960, it added.
Just over 10,000 Eastern Europeans lived in Ireland in 2002 while the figure was 200,000 by 2007. The influx was swelled by the Government's decision to allow Eastern Europeans to move here earlier than most other EU countries after the EU expanded in 2004.