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Bryan Fanning

One of the legacies of the Celtic Tiger period of rapid economic growth has been the transformation of the Republic of Ireland (hereafter Ireland) into a multi-ethnic society with a large permanent immigrant population. Ireland's immigrant population seemed to have increased during the economic crisis. During Ireland's one and only immigration crisis, at least in terms of how this was portrayed, some media accounts claimed that Ireland was being 'swamped' by asylum seekers. The social partnership consensus was that large-scale immigration was in the national interest and this in turn was to be exclusively defined in terms of economic growth. During the economic crisis government policy towards non-EU migrants had two elements. It became harder for new non-EU migrants to obtain visas to work in Ireland, but the rules became more flexible for those already living in Ireland who had become unemployed.

in Irish adventures in nation-building
Bryan Fanning

James Joyce had Leopold Bloom, his fictional Irish Jew protagonist of Ulysses, define a nation as the same people living in the same place. Whilst writings on nationalism and national identity put limited emphasis on linguistic distinctiveness, many Irish cultural nationalists seemed to focus on little else. After independence, the Irish language became institutionalised as a compulsory school subject and a validator of Irish distinctiveness. English remained the language of Irish modernity as well as being one of the main vehicles of Irish cultural nationalism. The post-1932 dominance of the Irish state by Fianna Fail under Eamon de Valera coincided with a reassertion of unifying nationalism symbolism. Irish identities rooted in Catholicism found expression in communities as well as through the kinds of national Catholic pageantry exemplified by the 1932 Eucharistic Congress.

in Irish adventures in nation-building
Abstract only
Bryan Fanning

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book locates racism in Irish society within a historical context. It argues that Ireland was never immune from the racist ideologies that governed relationships between the west and the rest. The book explores how the processes of nation-building which shaped contemporary Irish society and the Irish state were accompanied by a politics of national identity within which claims of social membership of various minority groups were discounted. It considers anti-Semitism in Irish society from independence in 1922 until the 1950s. The book examines how contemporary responses to refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland have been shaped by a legacy of exclusionary state practices. It also examines anti-Traveller racism in Irish society since the 1960s. The book evaluates efforts to contest racism and discrimination faced by minorities in Ireland as expressions of multiculturalism.

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
Abstract only
Bryan Fanning

This chapter examines the origins and changing context of racism in Irish society. This relates to shifting understandings of race and racial distinctiveness, which have impacted upon Irish society. Ireland has a shared history of race and racism with other western countries as well as its own specific engagements with black societies through colonialism. Contemporary manifestations of racism are coded in a language that aims to circumvent accusations of racism. In the case of 'new racism' race is coded as culture. However, biological or phenotypical distinctions are at the heart of the distinctions made between cultures. The monocultural Irish society at the heart of theorising about Irish xenophobia is itself a social construct that emerged from a nineteenth-century discourse of nation-building with represented nations as races. Irish identity was not just constructed in opposition to Britishness. It was expressed in a sense of national pride in Irish missionary efforts.

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
Bryan Fanning

This chapter examines dominant conceptions of Irish national identity. It explores the development of exclusionary conceptions of identity homogeneity linked to nationalism and nation-building from the nineteenth century onwards with reference to the experiences of Protestant, Jewish and Traveller minority communities. The new sporting 'traditions' fostered a republicanism which equated Irishness with Catholicism. Social policy was to some extent shaped by ideological aspirations for a Gaelic-Catholic Ireland. Throughout the nineteenth century profound shifts occurred within Irish nationalism whereby one hegemonic construction of Irishness which emphasised the Irishness of the minority Protestant elite was gradually displaced by a new Catholic 'Irish-Ireland' nationalist hegemony. The relationship between nationalism and anti-Semitism in 1904 was therefore characterised by a number of elements. After the 1920s the Protestant community lost their distinct political identity within Irish politics.

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
Bryan Fanning

This chapter considers anti-Semitism in Irish society from independence in 1922 until the 1950s with a specific focus upon Ireland's response to Jewish refugees before, during and after the Holocaust. Bauman argues that the Holocaust was the consequence of bureaucratic and rational characteristics of modern western societies whereby modernity became a precondition for the expression of a particular genocidal form of racism. The chapter argues that the mainstream politics of post-independence Ireland never embraced anti-Semitism, because of the absence of a perceived 'Jewish problem' in Irish society. Twentieth century expressions of anti-Semitism in Ireland constructed the Jews as enemies of the Church and enemies of the nation; though perhaps here the distinction was a subtle and unnecessary one within the context of a hegemonically Catholic nation state. The anti-Semitism which found expression in Irish immigration practices from the 1930s to the 1950s was similarly grounded in prevalent racialisations and stereotypes.

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
Bryan Fanning

This chapter examines how contemporary responses to refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland have been shaped by a legacy of exclusionary state practices and racism. It begins with an examination of responses to Hungarian refugees admitted soon after Ireland ratified the UN Convention. The chapter compares responses to asylum seekers from the late 1990s, when for the first time these began to arrive in Ireland in substantial numbers, to responses to Hungarian, Chilean, Vietnamese and Bosnian programme refugees during the previous four decades. The growing population of asylum seekers in Ireland was soon portrayed as a crisis by politicians and officials and within the media. The asylum seeker dispersal programme amounted to a form of social dumping within which the state took little responsibility for the needs of asylum seekers and host communities.

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
Bryan Fanning

This chapter provides a case study of the politics of Traveller exclusion from 1963, with the publication of the Report of the Commission on Itinerancy, to the end of the twentieth century. During the 1980s Ennis Travellers contested what they described as discrimination in the allocation of council housing on a number of occasions. Travellers in the Ennis area had a deep-rooted antipathy to the site because of its proximity to Drumcliffe cemetery where many of their dead were buried. Opposition to Traveller accommodation was justified on an ongoing basis by allegations of violence by Travellers against settled people. Clare County Council, in conjunction with the local authorities in neighbouring counties, sought to develop the camp as accommodation for all Travellers living within a twenty or thirty mile radius of Limerick city.

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
Bryan Fanning

Travellers legacy is characterised by the persistence of institutional racism in many areas of social policy, a long-standing denial of Traveller ethnicity and denial of anti-Traveller racism. The account of Travellers set out in the minority report depicted them as a deviant and transgressive underclass. The Report of the Commission on Itinerancy, the Report of the Travelling People Review Body and the Report of the Task Force on the Travelling Community depicted shifts in institutional responses to Travellers. These shifts have influenced equality legislation and responses to new minority communities. The discourses on culture and ethnicity within the Report of the Task Force represented ideological conflicts between dominant monoculturalism and nascent Irish multiculturalism which owed to the influence of Traveller organisations. The Primary Health Care for Travellers Project has identified poverty, poor accommodation and cultural stress resulting from discrimination and exclusion as causes of health inequalities experienced by Travellers.

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
Bryan Fanning

This chapter examines efforts to contest racism and discrimination faced by minorities in Ireland as expressions of multiculturalism. The multiculturalism is characterised by a narrow focus on liberal democratic rights with little emphasis upon racism as a factor in inequality and discrimination. It is argued that the dominant concepts within mainstream Irish equality discourse, 'interculturalism' and 'integration', become detached from their meanings within critiques, originating with Traveller organisations, of racism and cultural assimilation. Interculturalism in education has been promoted by Traveller groups and by the Irish National Teachers Organisation rather than the state. Many of the measures identified with interculturalism in Ireland have emerged within the voluntary sector. The notion that symbolic measures alone constitute a weak multiculturalism is an important point in the Irish context. Racism and inequality prevail unless symbolic multiculturalism goes hand in hand with measures to challenge the structural inequalities experienced by black and ethnic minorities.

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland