In the last decade, Ireland's immigrant population grew to more than one in ten. Now in the midst of an economic crisis, the integration of immigrants has become a topical issue. This book offers a detailed account of how immigrants in Ireland are faring. Drawing extensively on demographic data and research on immigrant lives, immigrant participation in Irish politics and the experiences of immigrants living in deprived communities, it offers a thorough study of the immigrant experience in Ireland today. Chapters and case studies examine the effects of immigration on social cohesion, the role of social policy, the nature and extent of segregation in education, racism and discrimination in the labour market, and barriers faced by immigrants seeking Irish citizenship. The book contributes to the field of integration studies through its focus on the capabilities and abilities needed by immigrants to participate successfully in Irish society. It follows two previous books by the author for Manchester University Press: Racism and Social Change in the Republic of Ireland (2002) and Immigration and Social Change in the Republic of Ireland (2007).
The free movement of EU citizens and the absence of a hard border between the
Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have facilitated easy movement
across the island for many migrants. People born in EU countries, and those
who have attained EU citizenship, are equally able to live and work on both
sides of the border, and a growing number have family, community and
employment connections in both jurisdictions. This chapter examines the
emerging implications of the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the
European Union (Brexit) for the lives of migrants on both sides of the
border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In Northern
Ireland, reduced rights of residency and access to employment will directly
affect EU migrants, while non-EU migrants are also affected by a shifting
labour market heavily reliant on migrant workers. In the Republic, internal
and external border controls agreed to facilitate EU protections and an
ongoing relationship with the UK will have an impact on all migrants in
their ability to move with ease, while the labour market also experiences
Bryan Fanning argues that the large-scale immigration into Ireland during the Celtic Tiger period had its roots in a post-1950s nation-building project of economic development which superseded an economically and culturally isolationist Irish-Ireland period. The lack of political debate about this post-1990s immigration is an eloquent silence and Fanning attempts to fill the void by offering an insightful discussion of immigration in the Celtic Tiger period. This chapter focuses on sociological explanations for Ireland's apolitical embrace of social transformation through immigration during the first decade of the twenty-first century. The speed with which this occurred owed much to the economic boom. Prosperity fostered the quiet transformation of Ireland but did not on its own explain the lack of political controversy about immigration and the absence of anti-immigrant politics even when boom turned to bust and the large-scale emigration of Irish citizens resumed. The chapter notes that immigrants who found themselves displaced from Ireland during the economic crash found themselves on the same boats and planes as Irish citizens displaced through unemployment from Ireland. Immigrants who managed to remain in employment seemed to be as integrated or socially included as any other such fortunate members of Irish society.
Why did a country adept at squeezing out surplus family members since the Famine, one that defined itself as monocultural, one that found it difficult to accommodate its small Jewish, Protestant and Traveller minorities, somehow embrace large-scale immigration? This book examines the role of social policy rather than symbolic politics in promoting or impeding integration in Ireland. A core argument is that integration debates and goals cannot be meaningfully detached from the social inclusion goals understood to apply to Irish citizens. The conversations about integration conducted from different angles in different chapters are variously framed in conceptual debates about social capital, cultural capital, human capital, and human capability. Various chapters examine institutional barriers to integration in the domains of education, social policy, and politics and citizenship. Collectively, the literatures on capabilities, social capital, cultural capital, and psychological well-being emphasise the complexity of processes of social exclusion and inclusion.
In 2004, the Republic of Ireland became one of just three European Union member states (along with the UK and Sweden) that agreed to allow unrestricted immigrants from the ten new EU-accession states. Also in 2004, the Irish government introduced a referendum on citizenship. The contemporaneous government decision in 2004 to engineer rapid, large-scale immigration from within the EU barely caused a political ripple. Arguably, what is being harmonised through the EU is not one single integration paradigm but a number of social, institutional, and political ones. The harmonisation of integration has emerged in a context of multiculturalism writ large, where the politics of incommensurability — the Europe of continual wars and, in Ireland, sectarian conflict predicated on the religious and political divisions of the Reformation — has been tamed, but by no means eliminated. Developmental modernity by no means constitutes an end of Irish history. The developmental case for large-scale immigration evaporated overnight. What remains, in essence, is the yet-to-be-assessed social cost of rapid and large-scale immigration as one of several challenges to social cohesion.
This chapter explores ideological, normative, and empirical claims about social cohesion that have a bearing on Irish responses to immigration. It draws on Emile Durkheim's classic sociological account of social cohesion to examine some of the underlying presumptions that have come to be influential in the Irish case. An influential governance security perspective worked to circumscribe state commitments to integration. The subtext here was the implicit definition of social cohesion in terms of the existing bounded community; its underlying normative presumptions are examined using Durkheim's concept of the ‘social fact’. The second proposition considered here is Robert Putnam's assertion that immigration undermines social cohesion. This chapter also discusses the findings of a study which compared ‘socially included’ immigrants with relatively low levels of social capital but high levels of human capital with ‘socially excluded’ Irish neighbours who nevertheless had high levels of social capital. Interpretations of the challenge to social cohesion depend on whether this is defined in terms of social capital (trust and reciprocity) or social inclusion (socio-economic and human capital terms).
The 2006 Irish Census identified a population of 4,239,848 persons. Of the ‘usually resident’ population, 610,000 (14.7 percent) were born outside the Republic of Ireland. Of these, approximately 10 percent were ‘non-Irish nationals’. Just more than 10 percent of children in Ireland in 2006 were born in other countries such as England and Wales, United States, Poland, Lithuania, and other European Union countries. Some 7.4 percent of identified children living in the Republic of Ireland do not have Irish citizenship. The British experience indicates that racism, discrimination, and other barriers to integration are experienced differently and with different consequences by different groups. This can be translated, in the Irish case, into a hypothesis that Chinese, Polish, Lithuanian or Nigerian immigrants will experience different opportunities for and barriers to integration. Asylum seekers comprised a major strand of immigration. Comprehensively disaggregated data can serve to explode myths, such as those about ghettos considered in this chapter, as well as provide an evidence base to address actual risks of social exclusion amongst immigrants, particularly those who settle in disadvantaged areas.
This chapter examines the role of capabilities, social capital, and cultural capital as distinct layers of resources that might facilitate functional integration. It uses the term ‘functional integration’ to denote what migrant workers themselves might consider as viable lives in the host society as distinct from host-society integration goals. Many migrants might envisage a temporary sojourn in Ireland that allows them to build better lives for families at home, only to encounter damaging levels of exploitation, risk, and isolation. Many of the experiences considered in this chapter are those of migrants who have been trafficked into what the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) describes as bonded or indentured labour. The chapter discusses the role of supportive social ties as a bulwark against vulnerability in the labour market, focusing on the experiences of the Brazilian community in Gort, County Galway. It also looks at the attributes of some of the immigrants who have demonstrated considerable willingness to participate in Irish society. The case study draws on interviews with immigrant candidates who contested the 2009 local government elections.
The year 2007 witnessed rising numbers of non-Catholic immigrant children being unable to secure school places in oversubscribed Catholic schools in Ireland. The statutory obligation to provide education for all children resulted in the establishment of two emergency Educate Together schools in Dublin 15 in September 2007. This chapter draws extensively on the findings of the two most substantial empirical studies to date of the experiences of Irish schools — Intercultural Education: Primary Challenges in Dublin 15 and Adapting to Diversity: Irish Schools and Newcomer Students. The findings allowed some comparison between the respective perceptions of teachers and parents of how immigrant children were faring in deprived localities. Both studies examined the nature and extent of segregation, the perceived effects of language difficulties, perceptions of the motivation and educational attainment of newcomers compared to Irish children. The studies addressed English-language acquisition and academic standards, cultural capital, racism, and social class.
Ireland's first major immigration policy statement, Integration: A Two Way Process (2000) advocated the integration of refugees and immigrants into Irish society through employment promotion measures and through addressing specific barriers of discrimination, non-recognition of qualifications and lack of fluency in English. The repertoire of barriers to labour market participation was well known by 2000. Since 2000, various welfare reforms had undermined the welfare rights of many vulnerable migrants. No reference was made to the 2004 legislation that introduced a two-year habitual residence condition for eligibility to many core benefits, including children's allowances. This chapter examines the ‘family resemblance’ between integration goals and social inclusion goals within mainstream Irish social policy. It looks at the legal and cognitive barriers that foster the exclusion of migrants from mainstream thinking about social inclusion. Drawing on the examples of the former asylum seekers who make up much of Ireland's disproportionately marginal black population and of vulnerable migrants excluded from welfare safety nets, the chapter argues that such state-sanctioned contradictory thinking works to sabotage integration and future social cohesion.