Thursday, January 12, 2006

Back in the oul' country

I'm back in Tyrone in the good old North of Ireland for a few days and currently find myself availing of the excellent online facilities in Omagh library from where I bring you the latest blogging on the Dreamin' Armadillo.

Although Omagh has never really been renowned as a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures there has been quite a noticeable trend (as has been felt across Ireland, north and south) of a new wave of immigration, particularly from the new EU member states of the former Eastern/Soviet bloc. It's now not an uncommon sight to have your car washed by a P0lish worker (who is probably highly educated, but can make more money in the west doing jobs the locals don't want to do) or being served in the cafe by a Lithuanian or Hungarian. This is very much in evidence right across the bars, building sites and factories throughout Ireland and the UK. In economic terms this can only be a good thing, but the obvious downside is racist attacks by mindless morons with time on their hands and nothing better to do. In Northern Ireland It will be interesting to see how the new immigrant communities integrate into an already divided society over the coming years. One hopeful outcome would be the eventual demise of sectarianism within a new ethnically diverse society where the various forms of nationalism on both sides would be erased by a new spirit of internationalism.

Whilst on holiday last summer in Latvia I was aided in my travels by a Latvian girl who had been living in Dublin for a number of years - and it showed. She had acquired an almost perfect Dublin accent with local phrases and colloquialisms intact. Anyone, on hearing her voice would have sworn she was Irish.

In the light of sall this, I came across an interesting article by David McWilliams in yesterday's Irish Independent on how Irish society will be affected by the current wave of immigration.

"By 2031, we are likely to have a significant black urban underclass, paying rent to a Chinese landlord class.
There is also a good chance that we may have a second generation Polish Taoiseach, bankrolled by his oligarch father who arrived here broke in 2004.
Irish academia will feature a disproportionate number of Indians, yet the Irish language will be stronger than at any point since before the Famine.
The majority of white Irish people will be content and living in a huge - formerly agricultural - suburban belt which will bear more than a passing resemblance to Wisteria Lane of Desperate Housewives fame."

McWilliams goes on to make various predictions on the changing political, economic and social climate with the forecast that by 2016 up to 15 % of the Republic's population could be immigrants. He then ends by thrown down the gauntlet to those in power.

"As Napoleon said: "To govern is to choose". As we enter a new world of the hyphenated Irishman - where tags such as Indian-Irish, Nigerian-Irish, Chinese-Irish or the vague cute sounding Polo-Irish will be in widespread use - I wonder do any of our politicians have the conviction to make such hard choices."

7 comments:

The Big D said...

I don't think you've quite grasped what this article is about. This is xenophobic rubbish and I would expect nothing less from the Irish Independent.
Though he doesn't say it directly (openly racist views are frowned upon even in Ireland) McWilliams' "hard choices" are a reference to curbs on immigration.
In the 1960s Irish emigrants sent £50 million home, the equivalent of the state's education budget. The Irish state would have had difficulty surviving without them.
The sooner conservative Ireland starts treating our own immigrants with some respec the better

CW said...

I've grasped perfectly well what the article is about - it's just that I've presented the facts in a neutral, unbiased way.

Anonymous said...

You haven't presented the facts. All you have presnted is McWilliams' opinion. You haven't referenced anything else.

CW said...

I didn't necessarily say I agreed with McWilliams' opinion. I stand by my original point.

the big d said...

But you haven't presented the facts?
So how can you stand by your original point then?

CW said...

Read the opening paragraphs.

the big d said...

Ditto.