Bryan Fanning
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The new Irish and the Irish nation
in Are the Irish different?
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This chapter focuses on the experiences of immigrants as a part of Irish society and on their relationship with the twenty-first-century Irish nation. Politicians and media refer immigrants as the new Irish. Non-Irish nationals according to the 2011 Census made up more than eleven per cent of the population of the Republic of Ireland. But immigrants constituted only about one half of one per cent of Irish citizens living in the Republic. The vast majority of Irish citizens are drawn from the same ethnic group. Irishness still seems to be heavily associated with the majority ethnic identity. The place of naturalised immigrants within this Irish nation remains somewhat ambiguous. Most immigrants lie empirically outside the Irish nation as this is institutionalised though citizenship. Localism within politics and community life has the potential to offer wider definitions of what it is to be Irish than those institutionalised within the nation-state.

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