Separate but Equal in Ireland?
September 04, 2007, 10:35 PM
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Shawn Pogatchinik writes at Associated Press:

Almost all the children who could not find elementary school places in a Dublin suburb this year were black, the government said Monday, highlighting Ireland's problems integrating its increasingly diverse population.

Now, we learn a little later on how Ireland came to have a substantial black population:

More than 25,000 Africans have settled in Ireland since the mid-1990s. Most arrived as asylum seekers, and many took advantage of Ireland's law — unique in Europe — of granting citizenship to parents of any Irish-born child. Voters toughened that law in a 2004 referendum.

Now, the prevalence of Irish racism is especially interesting given the demands recent Irish immigrants have made in the US-and the important role the Irish-heritage Kennedy family have had in creating the immigration policies in the US.

I personally think that the decent thing for the Irish government to do would be to offer buy out the citizenship rights of these families-so they had a reasonable chance to establish themselves someplace else. These families have made a substantial investment to establish themselves in Ireland-and it doesn't appear they are really being received as equals.

I really don't think there is anything close to the political will necessary to establish Ireland as a true multi-cultural or multi-ethnic state. A friend of mine of Scottish descent traveled to Ireland and found when he went into a "Catholic" pub, that he was 'encouraged' to take his business to the Protestant pub down the street-and Scots are an "immigrant" group that has been in Ireland for hundreds of years!

The Irish government could just come clean and admit they admitted some immigrants that they weren't really prepared to integrate into their society—and help these folks get on with their lives in someplace where they can get the full range of services they need and deserve.