Migration is one of the key issues in Ireland today. This book provides a new and original approach to understanding contemporary Irish migration and immigration, showing that they are processes that need to be understood together. It focuses on four key themes (work, social connections, culture and belonging) that are common to the experiences of immigrants, emigrants and internal migrants. The Gathering was an Irish government initiative held during 2013, bringing together festivals, concerts, seminars, family reunions under one convenient label, using it as a marketing campaign to encourage members of the Irish diaspora to visit Ireland. The 'Currents of Migration' map, together with the nuances of Ravenstein's discussion of migration, offer us a useful way to think about how we might map migration to and from Ireland. The emphasis on a close relationship between migration decisions and work has resulted in a wide range of research on the topic. The book describes social connections: on the ways in which we create, maintain and extend their social connections through the experience of migration. Migrants change the cultural structures and productions of particular places, and these changes may be welcomed to an extent, particularly in aspiring or already global cities. The temptations and complications of belonging become even more evident in association with migration. The book concludes by advocating for a place-based approach to migration, showing how this focus on Ireland as a specific place adds to our more general knowledge about migration as a process and as a lived experience.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book describes the simplifications that impair our perception of the relationship between Ireland and migration. It discusses both the laws and policies that frame migration and the statistics that represent the translation of the messiness of migration into manageable, quantifiable units. The book examines beyond the borders of women and Ireland, highlighting the countertopographies of migration to and from Ireland, where Ireland as a place and as an identity is repeatedly centred and decentred. It focuses on belonging, at scales that range from the individual and the home to the state. The book identifies social connections around language, family and community that offer possibilities for both encounter and distance, and that show how personal experiences may intersect with broader structures in a range of contexts, but with different outcomes.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the relationship between Ireland and migration in the twenty-first century. It focuses on the Republic of Ireland, with some brief references to Northern Ireland. The book provides a framework for mapping migration to and from Ireland, and the experiences of migrants and non-migrants in and beyond Ireland, in the twenty-first century. As people from Ireland made new homes, they encountered obstacles that included prejudice and violence. Ireland as a place has been influenced by both the act and the meaning of migration: by the physical movement of people in, to and from Ireland, and by the symbolic implications of that movement. Small-scale studies in the UK, for example, highlighted the extent to which people moved there from Ireland to escape violence and other difficult situations.
When Ernest Ravenstein published his 'laws of migration' in 1885, he illustrated his findings with a series of maps. Most of the maps show where internal migrants in the United Kingdom lived: these included maps of 'the national element', 'the Irish element', 'the Scotch element' and 'the English element'. Ravenstein drew attention to the gender dimension of migration in 1885, suggesting that there were differences in the likelihood of migration and in the distance migrated between men and women. This chapter shows how Censuses may be used, in Ireland and elsewhere, to highlight situations where people's experiences and opportunities may be restricted or limited because of their status as immigrants. In Ireland, the Census offers three possible identifiers of migrancy. These are nationality, place of birth and living outside Ireland for at least a year. In general, records of migrant stock are more comprehensive than records of migrant flows.
This chapter looks at the relationship between migration, work and Ireland, paying attention to the hierarchies that emerge when migrants experience work. It examines a specific employment sector, health care, which is often classified as skilled migration. The chapter also looks at inadvertent migrant workers: people whose main motivation for migration is not necessarily work, but who become part of the labour force in their new homes for a variety of reasons. This includes students and migrants on working holiday visas who, as migrant workers in different contexts, share similar experiences of precarity and marginalization. A combination of increased investment in the Irish health care system, population growth, changing training and work practices meant that, from the late twentieth century onwards, Irish hospitals began to experience a shortage of nurses.
This chapter focuses on social connections: on the ways in which people create, maintain and extend their social connections through the experience of migration. It considers three different ways of thinking about social connections: language, family and community. The chapter focuses on the changing meaning of family for migrants living in Ireland and for migrants from Ireland living elsewhere, and shows the ways in which family changes across space and time. In migration studies, the term community often refers to migrants with a shared nationality, such as the Irish community in Australia or the Polish community in Ireland. Maggie O'Neill suggests that there are three basic meanings of the term 'community': relating first to place; second to a group of people living in a place; and third to 'togetherness'.
This chapter focuses on the complex relationship between culture and migration in the context of Ireland. It describes culture as a set of productions that serve to connect migrant experiences in Ireland to those outside Ireland. Cultural landscapes offer an insight into the relationship between migration, place and identity that is both material and symbolic. They provide tangible evidence of the influence of migrants on specific places, while also showing the ways in which migrants construct identities that are local and transnational. As a cultural practice, sport can help to construct a shared identity at a range of scales, but it can also be exclusionary. The Gaelic Athletic Association provides a means to investigate the ways in which sport as a cultural production links place and identity with both internal and international migration. Migration results in new forms of musical expression and new fictional representations of place and identity.
This chapter discusses the tensions between belonging and not belonging, both for individuals and for groups. It considers questions of legality and illegality, highlighting the links between laws and migrant status, and what these mean for belonging. The chapter also considers citizenship as a formal marker of belonging, and links this to political belonging in the form of voting. The accounts of deportations on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) home page are sandwiched between announcements of Citizenship Ceremonies. The first citizenship ceremony in Ireland took place in June 2011, in Dublin Castle. The issue of voting rights is important in the context of Ireland. Belonging occurs, and is experienced, in a range of spaces and scales, from the informal sense of being at home to the more formal belonging that is expressed through citizenship and legal status and the right to vote.
Migration to and from Ireland is often the subject of definitive claims. During the 1980s, migration from Ireland was most commonly described as a brain drain. Despite the constant flows and counterflows, academic studies tend to focus on just one direction of movement, reflecting dominant concerns at particular points in time. The 1950s and the 1980s are characterized as decades of emigration, the Celtic Tiger era as a period of immigration, and the current recession is manifest as a return to mass emigration. This book addresses the three key themes from a variety of spatial, temporal and theoretical perspectives. The theme of networks is addressed. Transnational loyalist networks acted both to facilitate the speaking tours of loyalist speakers and to re-translate the political meanings and messages being communicated by the speakers. The Irish Catholic Church and specifically its re-working of its traditional pastoral, lobbying and development role within Irish emigrant communities, is discussed. By highlighting three key areas such as motives, institutions and strategies, and support infrastructures, the book suggests that the Irish experience offers a nuanced understanding of the different forms of networks that exist between a state and its diaspora, and shows the importance of working to support the self-organization of the diaspora. Perceptions of belonging both pre- and postmigration encouraged ethnographic research in six Direct Provision asylum accommodation centres across Ireland. Finally, the book provides insights into the intersections between 'migrancy' and other social categories including gender, nationality and class/position in the labour hierarchy.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on particular time periods or particular types of migration and describes three linking themes: networks, belongings and intersections. It discusses the experiences of childhood visits to Ireland by second-generation Irish in England. The book provides an analytical framework for understanding diaspora strategies in general, with a particular focus on the case of Ireland. It explores the role of traditional migrant 'print media' in the lives of migrants in Ireland while also pointing to the centrality of transnational media outlets in the lives of migrants. The book also focuses on Irish migrants to Australia. It then provides insights into the intersections between 'migrancy' and other social categories including gender, nationality and class/position in the labour hierarchy.