October 17, 2007

Realism is not racism in the immigration debate

Posted in Ireland · 37 comments ·

On the radio, not so long ago, the then Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, made the point that Bord Failte had received negative feedback from many visitors to the country, who complained that they met few Irish people working in hotels and restaurants. He mused that this was a legitimate cause for concern. The interviewer on the flagship radio programme automatically suggested that he didn’t want foreigners here, which is not what he had said at all. The discussion degenerated into Junior Cert babble about racism, equality and the dignity of immigrants, rather than a response to a legitimate dilemma.

So, let’s look at the issue. Ireland is now an immigrant nation. But where do the immigrants work? The CSO produces numbers every quarter showing who works where (www.cso.ie/qnhs). Interestingly, the minister’s observations were right. One in three people working in tourism are foreigners and this figure is rising by 7pc per year. In our shops last year, the number of foreign workers increased by over 10pc, while the numbers of Irish workers in retail fell by 1.5pc. In construction, foreign workers account for one in six on the sites.

Significantly, the only area of the economy which is sheltered from competition from immigrants is the public sector, where less than 1pc of workers are foreign born. This does not seem to make any sense, particularly when you understand that after construction, the public sector was the single biggest recruiter in the land last year. Unless of course the Irish public administration — despite spending millions on campaigns telling us all to embrace diversity — is itself not too willing to employ foreigners? Surely not!

Immigration is the handmaiden of economic success and countries need to make decisions and policies to deal with immigration.

This is particularly relevant for Ireland, as we are now part of another unique experiment. Enhanced EU projects mean we have the free movement of labour from countries where the average annual wage is €4,000 and there is no social welfare system to speak of, to countries where the average annual wage is €40,000 and the social welfare system is open-ended. Child benefit alone in Ireland is worth more than the minimum wage in Lithuania. This is creating the biggest peacetime population movement Europe has ever seen, with hundreds of thousands of east Europeans on the move.

Like the widely-predicted “soft landing” in the property market, which no country has ever experienced before, we have replaced a proper discussion of immigration with platitudes and wishful thinking. The old ideological camps seem incapable of analysing the issue.

On the one hand, the right-wing view, best exemplified by IBEC, is that the only issue revolves around absorbing more and more immigrants to satisfy the appetite of the economy. This view states that mass immigration is kosher, so long as it serves to keep the price of labour low.

This framework was first adopted by German business circles when, in the early 1970s, Germany ran out of its own people. Fearing inflation from – excessive wage claims as the labour market tightened, Germany opened its door to two million Turks.

Integrating this community has taken Germany many tortuous years. The main problem with the business view is that you might import ”workers”, but what you actually get is “people”.

If the right have a “workers-not-people” view, the left, on the other hand, have what can be best described as a “united colours of Benetton” approach, where the wisdom of mass immigration is overridden by sanctimony.

The right-on, soft-left view appears to be that it is our role to take in as many colours, creeds and peoples as possible and it is up to us to adapt to them. This approach leads to silly censorship, where any questioning of the appropriate level of immigration is immediately slapped down with accusations of racism. Such Orwellian double-think strangles debate.

This default position seems to have been formed in some 1970’s prism, when Ireland was homogeneous and all things foreign were seen as progressive, simply because they were foreign. There was a time when the intelligentsia seemed to conclude that the more open you were to foreign influence, the more enlightened you were.

Now this “festival of world music” approach to immigration has led to a dialogue of the deaf. This is not only unproductive, but as the interview with the minister evidenced, infantile.

The problem with the public debate on immigration is that it is articulated by people — journalists, academics and politicians — whose livelihood is not threatened by immigrants. In contrast, the people at the coal face are given the cold shoulder.

We need to get a handle on this question because one of the big imponderables is whether the immigrants, in the event of a slowdown, will stay or go home.

If they stay, a struggle will ensue between blue-collar Irish workers and the immigrants who are likely to do the jobs cheaper. Many of the Polish and Lithuanian lads live six or seven to a house, as we did in the US in the 1980s, and they’ll do anything to keep their costs down.

The Irish workers have higher expectations of what life can deliver and, as such, they can’t afford, psychologically, to compete with some of the immigrants.

On the other hand, if the immigrants leave, house prices will fall further, as it is the immigrants who are keeping the rental market buoyant. So we have to ask ourselves whether we want the cost of deflation to be borne by young Irish workers, or middle-aged Irish landlords. Your answer will depend on what generation you belong to.

  1. Ian

    ‘So we have to ask ourselves whether we want the cost of deflation to be borne by young Irish workers, or middle-aged Irish landlords.’

    This statement seems to imply that we can tell the EU immigrants to leave. This is not the case unless we pull out of the EU!

  2. Wessel

    So, David, you string me out to read the whole article without really offering a “middleground”.

    Maybe we could move the debate by agreeing a few principles:

    Immigration is good for the economy.

    Like all other aspects of the economy, immigration has to be managed.

    Immigrants are people, with their particular histories, cultures, needs and issues that require appropriate policies from the host country.

    Change brings about uncertainty, fear and suspicion. People of the host country will react emotionally. Change can be managed.

    Neither an ideological assimilation (become just like us) or accommodation (be whoever you want) policy will result in a successful integration of immigrants.

    People adapt. It takes time. It requires inter-cultural contact and interaction.

    Refugees make out a very small proportion of immigrants. The majority of immigrants have a minimal impact on the Social Welfare system.

    Things get messy when immigrants “play the race card” or people in the host country object to immigration based on their own bigoted views. Neither attitude should be tolerated.

    Before this becomes a sermon, a final word… the socio-political and economic landscapes are changing dramatically in our lifetime. The nation-state order created in the last three centuries is crumbling. New regional bloc formation will become the most influencial factor for our local well being. The flows of capital, the reach of technology and the movement of people are symptoms of this change. We have to learn to live with it.

  3. Ed

    Immigrants in the public service! Do you know anybody in the public service that isn’t connected to a certain political party? David you must be naïve – allow foreigners into to the holy of holies – no way.
    The tribe could loose control and all the little fiefdoms collapse – homogeny is paramount to the tribes continuity . The only problem with this attitude is that it eventually leads to a downward spiral through the reinforcement of mediocrity.
    If we are to succeed as a race, we need immigrants to tip the balance and prise open this cocoon – the more the merrier – there’s a lot more to us Irish than simply providing a playground for tourists.

  4. Eoin

    The perceived idea that our hands are tied in relation to the issue of immigration, just because we are in the EU, is utter nonsense. Ireland, Sweden and the UK were the only countries in the EU to have allowed an ‘open door’ policy to all 8 of the Eastern European countries that joined in 2004. Why didn’t Germany open its doors? Why didn’t France open its doors?

    Just as Ireland didn’t ‘have’ to join the Euro, or change from miles to kilometres, we didn’t ‘have’ to open our doors. Denmark, Sweden and the UK are still not in the Euro and The UK is still using miles, with no sign of ever changing.

    When Ireland is asked to jump, it always asks how high. We opened our doors to immigrants, and we can close them again. It is very simple. There are more than enough here as it is. Will Germany complain if we close our doors? On what grounds?

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  6. Wessel

    “Closing” the door on immigration is akin to a trade restriction policy. A country may have short term gain in protecting a particular industry, but long-term it will severely affect the economy.

    Britain, France and Germany may have the population size to “insulate” their economies and opt for low growth. However, with low growth, comes stagnant investment in quality of life. The first people to leave in such circumstances are potential high earners and “knowledge workers” who are critical to drive innovation.

    Listened to a fascinating account of the demise and turnaround of Europe’s largest industrial area, the Ruhr Gebiet. Up until recently the German governments (federal and state) tried to prop up ailing industries with subsidies to the tune of billions of euro. Money down the drain. It had to stop. Then they opted for investing in innovation. And as the Dep. Prime Minister of North Rhine Westphalia said at the conference, their vision is now to attract the best talent and workers. That is the gameplan. That is the competition. Will that mean dramatic change for the local population? Very much so. Many of the people attracted to the area will not speak German, will be alien (sic) to the culture etc. But this is the key policy of the state government.

    Ireland has no option but to have an open economy and compete globally. Our small population size dictates that we remain attractive for the inflow of capital and people. We have one or two sectors where we are competitive, largely because we have clustered the necessary know-how, eg. pharma in Cork. Let’s not lose the plot now.

  7. Jay

    Ed, Whatever about the Public Service in general, anyone above the grade of EO in the Civil service is barred from belonging to any political party or organisation and must declare any such affiliation by family members. The fact of the matter is, you will find a large number of non nationals in any government department mostly working in subcontracted services as I did myself.

  8. I think we should apply the Norman Tebbit rule: Anybody who shouts for the Irish soccer team is in; anybody who doesn’t is out.

    Oh hang on…there’d be no-one left then. Better rethink that one.

  9. Dónall Garvin

    Interesting article David,

    I am young and work in an industry that is multi-cultural due to its global presence but there is little threat (yet) of low-cost competition from Poles – where I work the Poles dish out the food and empty the bins.

    I can see that they (die Gastarbeiterinnen) won’t go home, look at Germany with its Turks, France with North Africans and America – the great melting pot. Here is home as far as they are concerned.

    Economically I feel that we benefit immensely from immigrants – they along with cheap Chinese goods keep inflation low and provide me with rental income for my spare bedroom. Socially, I think we benefit too from having people of different nationalities together.

    Ironically, the Irish have been huge fans of Europe and have been buying property in these countries and have no problem of retiring over there (sme with the British) but feel unhappy about these people coming over here.

    I have heard a few people (who are not competing with the poles for jobs) say this sort of thing:
    “Most of them are over here for the benefits – few are here to work, they come here put there kids in schools, use our hospitals and pay nothing for it.”
    My experience is somewhat different from the quoted “90% are here to mug the system” that I was told just yesterday – but this is what people are thinking.

    Depending on which generation you are from you can cry that:
    A) they’re coming in here taking our job, pushing up house prices, or
    B) coming in here using our services, and giving nothing back.

    In the event of a crash/hardsoft landing/recession/negative house price growth I can see the immigrants being singled out as being the culprits – just like those pesky Jews in Weimar Germany.

  10. Donal

    Immigration has its benefits but it has more cost attached to it then anything else.

    The rest of europe has opened its doors to and a pandoras box of social ill’s has erupted.
    The simple fact is that immigrants do contribute to the economic success of their host nation but are often given no thanks or exploited which has most certainly happened over here.

    They are only allowed in because they are willing to work longer hours, lower pay and do jobs that we quite simply are too lazy to do because we think it is below our standards “Oh let some else do it, leave that to the Poles” is the typical mentality of a lot of Irish people.

    I for one am sick of this hypocrisy that is preached in politics and society, Ireland has never been hospitable to foreign settlers. We only have look back at history to realise that Strongbow wasn’t welcome or his bunch of normans when Dermot McMurrough wanted his throne back.

    That action lead to Ireland rebelling more times than anywhere as a colony, we are a narrow-minded people and hundreds of years as a nation that was occupied under foreign rule has made that rigidness part of our psyche.

    Plus to mention, the education system cannot cope with all the demands that it faces. We weren’t ready for a diverse influx of people and this catastrophe in balbriggan last month shows that we have failed to provide the most basic facilities for immigrants and we will continue to do so until it is far too late.

    I for one support David’s Diaspora theory, Japan’s success relied on their own self-determination and pride for success and hardwork. They have little or No immigration at all or social problems like multicultural europe, they clearly have the secret success of how to be prosperous and self-reliant

    Europe can learn a lesson from Japan

  11. “No country has ever accepted, never mind assimilated, the volumes of foreigners now present in this state. We have some 400,000 legal immigrants; but everyone knows that the army of illegals, especially Africans and Chinese, is vast, and probably tops 200,000. In all, Ireland has received at least 600,000 immigrants, most of them within the past five years. It could be many more. No one has the least idea.”
    “There’s also the Paddy- factor in all this. It’s impossible for any outsider to understand that this state is almost pathologically incapable of planning anything.
    This is the land of the Red Cow Roundabout and motorways without service stations, rest-stops or toilets. So how could we be expected seven years ago to have planned school-building projects in north county Dublin for Africans as yet unborn?”
    You know who wrote this. I love that guy Myers. We all know it. Only he puts it in plain prose (first quote) and then- in poetry.!(second quote)
    Its so beautiful, I have going to repeat it again. (for slow learners)

    “There’s also the Paddy- factor in all this. It’s impossible for any outsider to understand that this state is almost pathologically incapable of planning anything.
    This is the land of the Red Cow Roundabout and motorways without service stations, rest-stops or toilets. So how could we be expected seven years ago to have planned school-building projects in north county Dublin for Africans as yet unborn?”

  12. Ed

    Jay, Public Service and affiliation to a political party – irrespective of the official line, we all know the reality – it’s a small country. Back in the sixties there was a practice of blatant discrimination against those from outside the tribe and as a consequence, emigration was their only option. Some of the privileged, however, are still strutting their stuff irrespective of what the rules say.
    This practice is partly responsible for our inability to make a go of things for ourselves – a considerable number of these candidates were simply seeking shelter and had no vision or real belief in the system. A land based society was all that they were familiar with and that had definite limitations, that is, up until recently when US investment kick started a totally different economy. The old values, however, have endured and now, we’re back to where we were with land still being the primary commodity

  13. Quote:
    “The old values, however, have endured and now, we’re back to where we were with land still being the primary commodity”
    We have more availible land(for building) than any country in Europe.
    It is the manipulation of the planning process by the current government/ political party that has created one bedroom apartments in Dublin starting at 320,000 Euros.
    It is the corruption endemic in the body politic for the past four decades that has created a core of wealthy developers who now control much of the potential development land in the Leinster area.They were -up to recently- in the happy position of being able to manipulate prices by reducing activity when demand is slack-and refiring the market as demand pushes up prices. Only the European Central Bank,s increasing interest rates from a ridiculously low level in an overheated economy, has called a halt to their gallop, so we will now have a new landlord class- and a lifetime tenant class as I think David pointed out in a previous article.
    Back to the colonial past, in a sense, only this time we have native overlords (Friends of Fianna Fail/Fine Gael?)who, judging by the Susies in our midst, may well turn out to be more ruthless than the british landlords we have finally cast off.

  14. Marcus. D

    Mass immigration to a country that has never depended on it is a bad thing. Ireland does not need immigration on the level its seen. The immigration issue should be addressed soon by the people who have let these aliens into this country. Even if they don’t address it, someone is going to have to do something about it. It cannot be left un-addressed because there will come a time when people will get fed up at having foreigners squeezing the benefit system let alone having to pay for the cost of opening new schools for immigrant children. The Irish are not silent on this issue anymore, nor can they just sit back and do nothing either. Why do the politicians continue to ignore the Irish people…….

  15. Because they have just received a mandate from a majority of voters to govern for another 5 years!

  16. Stephen

    Immigration can be compared to money supply: We increase the amount of money in the economy so we all have more (property prices, and the trickle/flood down effect). OK, that’s nice. When the prices stop rising (let’s say we achieve that nirvana of a soft landing), the economy stops getting more money. We’ve been spending capital on overheads – more fool us. The capital runs out, and we’re left with bills, and nothing to pay them with.
    Immigration: We increase the number of people in the economy through immigration, wages stay lower, or get lower, so we can all enjoy nice low prices in the shops. Let’s say we achieve the nirvana of frictionless assimilation, and all these immigrants turn into nice Paddies/Brits within 1 generation. They will no longer be prepared to live 8 to a room and work for half of sweet fanny adams, so we have a fully paid up, expensive, demanding, population, that’s simply a lot bigger. We’re no better off than we were before the immigration, since the wage bills are all back up to the ‘Paddy/Brit’ level. Now what do we do? More cheap immigrants to lower the prices?
    Cheap labour isn’t good for an economy, except in the very short term, any more than cheap money is. If prices get too high, innovate, automate, invent a machine for giving out cash so you need less human tellers. Cheap labour (slavery) is basiclaly the reason the Greeks never developed the steam power beyond being a cute toy.
    Immigration is a social/political question, and the UK (and, it seems, the Irish) government has been hiding behind this ‘good for the economy’ stuff for quite a long time.

  17. Donal


    a lot of people seem to show their anger and annoyance with the fiasco that is the immigration into this country. No-one in the Dail is seeming to do anything about this problem and at the rate it is going the end result is going to be very nasty either way but it can be less problematic if tackled now preventing long-term damage to society like all the nations of europe e.g. Britain, France & Germany which are slowly crumbling.

    So I ask you to try and put a lot of pressure on this issue in the papers or Media, I would vote for you if you ran for Taosieach.

    I trust your judgement than a man in the Dail who’s clearly guilty of Corruption and will get away it unless he’s knocked senseless. Dev would certainly not tolerated him as he didn’t with Haughey!

    Anyone one else disagree ?

  18. Paula

    “a lot of people seem to show their anger and annoyance with the fiasco that is the immigration into this country.”

    And do you blame them? If you were thrown off your job because your boss wanted to take on foreign workers who knowingly agreed to work for such low wages, then you’d want something done to stop that kind of take-over. This problem is widespread now. Its not new, its been happening for 3 years now.

    In all honesty, no matter how hard you try otherwise, you won’t stop people from resenting immigration. People have seen it so many times in other countries and in all cases, the overall result of it has been negative. People being made unemployed, rendered useless all because of one person who decides to expose the entire country to the elements.

  19. Donal

    To Paula,

    I’m not blaming peoples right to be angry. I’m very annoyed myself because I am an Irishman who grew up in the UK and longed to come back here for life, I know what kind of discrimination and prejudice immigrants are exposed to because I beared the brunt of it throughout school and society.

    I know full well that Ethnic-Integration as part of immigration doesn’t work, I went to a non-demonational school that was divided along religous & Ethnic lines. It was one of the worst schools in the area because the police were always called out and fights were a daily occurance and so was prejudice which I was often subjected to.

    I am not a promoter of prejudice but what happened at that school painted a picture of the society that really exists in the UK, it is divided and there is no sense of trust.
    God Forbid something as horrible as what happened to me doesn’t happen to the kids of immigrants but at the rate we are going and the history we have, it will have catastrophic consequences.

    They will be victimised or already have been and Ghettos are emerging faster than previously imagined, that is whay I wish the MultiCultural Ireland scheme is terminated as soon as possible.

    A naive supporter of Multi-Culturalism believing it is a wonderful dream will soon wake up seeing it is really a horrible nightmare.

    This can still be avoided

  20. Noreen

    I wish there were a decent debate also on emigrants’ rights. Having lived, worked and paid taxes in France for twenty years–yes twenty–I still have no right to vote in the general elections here. Being Irish of course, I have no vote in Ireland either.
    Vote in French is voix; the same word for voice. No wonder I feel silenced and that no body is listening to us.
    When are you going to do one of your interesting articles or programmes on Irish legal EU emigrants, David? I could surely give you lots of other examples of good old Irish ‘openness’ to all, even to ones born and bred on home ground.

  21. Barry

    Hi David,
    I’d just like to give you my support and backing regarding this article. I couldn’t agree any better, its not racist to have an immigration debate. That has been the biggest smear that most neo-socialist affiliated people try to cloud over any debate on migration to Ireland. They always try to make a link between Irelands right to have a border control policy and it being racist. These are the kind of people that protest against deportations and basically, they wan’t anyone to come here and be given the full entitlements that the hard working Irish people have.

  22. niamh

    has anyone asked what percentage of the country should be immigrants i dont want to end up like native americans looking on websites for partners who are 1 eight indian just to keep their race intact i dont care if my wife is an immigrant but that doesnt mean i want 50% of the population to be non irish i am not racist but i am pro my own i want the majority of people to be irish and mostly keep my genetic inheritance immigrants should be added to the mix not the whole or half the mix there is more to being irish than having loads of money whatever the cost as in our heritage as i mentioned above also the irish poor at least had their identity what next still poor but outnumbered in a ghetto

  23. Dónall Garvin

    To Niamh’s comments –
    I don’t feel the same way about genetic purity as you do.
    People will jump to the conclusion that you sounding off like a Nazi – I don’t want to talk about that.

    Does it really matter where your ancestors are from? I’ve always believed that what is more important is where you are going not where you are coming from.

    What we are having now is a reassessment of what it means to be Irish – do you have to have X% Irish ancestor’s, be born in Ireland, lived in Ireland for X years, speak Irish and what happens if you are a Northerner?

    These questions are only right to be answered – narrowing the acceptable range of ideas will only hold us back from a better answer to the Irish question.

    Whether we believe in an Éire Iomlann, or an Éireann Neamh-iomlann is still up in the air.

  24. Una

    Hi Dave

    I remember having to work very hard to pay my living expenses when I lived in Dublin 3 years ago. I have since moved location as the area I formally lived in (Dublin 15) had become in-filled with a lot of non-EU immigrants. While I accept that there are some hard working immigrants here, I know most people will be able to see that the amount that have immigrated here is completely disproportional for our population scale. The government claims that there is a ‘positive’ thing with multiculturalism and diversity. But have they actually studied immigration more intensely and seen the effect its having on the Irish people and Ireland? A recent study has pointed out exactly what I was anticipating: a flight of Irish people away from areas otherwise formally known as Irish. The first example of this is the area I formally lived in. Are the government too weak or timid to actually see what is happening to the Irish national identity? If you ask me, there is some serious work needed on the part of the government to sort something out before an early election is called……

  25. niamh

    re donals comments about genetic purity the same old nazi crap comes up once again if you read what i say i am not saying ireland should have no immigrants or that it matters if your parents are. just that :most: people on this island should be irish. regarding the 1million people up the north of protestant stock who make up this country and are irish that was a situation brought about by war and settlement that is the make up of this island. this is peacetime we can control immigration and decide how many people live here.re the nazi comment are the native americans nazis because they want to marry other native americans.also how tolerant would people be in europe specially eastern europe to other ethnic groups growing in number if recent history is right not very tolerant at all. incidentally my great great grandmother was welsh

  26. Ed

    We can’t deny that immigrants were essential to the success of the Celtic tiger – without them, a shortage in the supply of workers would have limited its development to little more, than barely beyond the starting blocks. Apart from the economic aspect, we also need outsiders to add to our gene pool – we’ve had no influx for hundreds of years and within the not so distant future, we’ll all be related to each other. At some time in the past, even the McWilliamses came from over the horizon and look how well they’ve assimilated – we’re still keeping an eye on them though! – It’s nonsense to think that we Irish are a pure race and its isolation and indoctrination that has led some of us to that assumption.
    I grew up at the tail end of the first Irish generation that had no experience of life under the previous British administration – we were Dev’s children – religion was the primary force in society, civics wasn’t thought as it was considered to be outside the interests of the church – permission, from the head of the school, had to be granted if you wanted to travel to Britain – expulsion was the penalty. In essences, in civilian life, there was far more emphasis on not being something rather than being something – a sort of negative patriotism. The isolation and indoctrination had succeeded in convincing us that Britain was a foreign place with no morality, to be avoided where possible – to my surprise and amazement I found this to be totally at odds with the reality, when I went there later – the real surprise, however, was that half my former school colleagues had names that were common there and here I was thinking that they were all Irish when in fact they were a bunch of imports – so much for the pure Irish race then!

  27. Carl

    You’re wrong. Immigrants did not build the Irish economy, the Irish did. Are you saying that in the late 1990′s (when there were literally no immigrants in Ireland), that this boom was being built by an imaginary group of people that literally did not exist?

  28. Ed


    I didn’t say that the immigrants built the new Irish Economy – I said that they were essential to its success.
    Without the influx of workers from abroad, the economy would have stalled at a point where there were no more workers available to expand any further – competition would have brought about wage increases which would have caused a decline in competitiveness and triggered a decline early on in the cycle to the position where we are at present. It gave us a few more years of expansion that couldn’t have been achieved without them. The irony is that they gave a real boost to the building industry which of course is mainly responsible for our problems – it’s Irish parasites in that sector who’ve got away with extortion and who have wrecked the economy for everyone else – the immigrants were only doing a day’s work.

  29. Donal

    Immigrants have contributed to the Growth of the Irish Economy but there is one overlooked problem……..

    our success is really cash we’ve borrowed and we have no hope of properly paying it back!

    The Celtic Tiger has shown that people are living beyond their means:
    A 1million Euros House
    A BMW
    Weekends of shopping x3 to New York per year
    all on a salary of E40,000 Per Annum

    Oh and by the way, they have forked out a 50 Year Mortgage

    How are we supposed to believe that we are a developed nation when hundreds of thousands of people are living such extravagant lifestyles?

    The Health Service is handled badly, there’s a segregated education for immigrants because the basics can’t be provided for the children, Indigenous Irish are leaving suburban areas because its overflowing with foreign people who don’t even speak the english language, intolerance is brewing much faster than first predicted.

    When the crash comes whom are going to be the victims and bare the brunt of the fallout? Yeah, that’s correct the man who’s serving you the cup of coffee.

    It’s time that the Irish took responsibility for what is going wrong in this country, we need to rely on ourselves to get out of this mess. If people weren’t so lazy on doing lower skilled work, then we wouldn’t have the problems we are now facing.

    Why does the Government think there isn’t a problem with Immigration, when all our pre-existing limited infrastructure is becoming more and more strained?

    Let’s do the right thing and call our people home: Australia, New Zealand, America, Argentina and the pockets in South Africa & Canada

  30. Carl

    Yeah but Ed, you don’t have a balanced rationale there. The building industry is composed of a majority of Irish workers. Are you really telling me that immigrants actually gave us those extra few years to build a prosperous economy? When migrants come in on the job and offer themselves available at prices that you would never match, how can you not say that its the immigrants who created this problem?

  31. SpinstaSista

    Interesting discussion. If not properly managed, the relationship between Irish and immigrant workers could become volatile. Already there are individual incidents of violence which are being kept quiet. An altercation between an Irish worker and an immigrant worker in a Kildare factory resulted in the Irish worker being stabbed by the immigrant. The immigrant had to use a knife in the course of his work, and apparently lost it after the Irish worker had called him “nigger” one too many times. The immigrant was not of African origin.

  32. D

    What I find laughable is Mary McAleese last night hailing New Zealand’s Multiculturalism and record for tolerance.

    New Zealand has had a terrible record for Treating the Maori People, they have the highest unemployment record and are often discriminated from work places. It’s only in the last few years that the Maori’s have been given the right to access facilities in their own native tongue.

    This also overshadows the culture that has emerged from the segragation of both Settlers and Maori’s for generations called the “Mongrol Mob” which is made of mostly Moari’s (95%+).

    This also should be taken into account that there are numerous stories over the last few years about bad relations escalating so much between Maoris & Settler that there would be a civil war or the country will be partitioned in the future!

    What was An Urachtaran thinking yesterday?

  33. Ed


    They say that approx.16% of the construction industry workforce are immigrants, then add to this, the Irish workers in the industry that have been relieved from working in less paid sectors by other immigrants and it could be the equivalent of a further 16% + , a sizable number by any standard. No matter how you look at way our expansion was achieved – supply and demand still holds true. If the housing /construction sector had been properly managed/regulated, we’d still be growing – It’s shaping up to be a disaster – some of us have a high value asset, but it’s relative – a house is still a house and exchanging one house for another doesn’t do enrich anybody and is another example of fools gold. The clever lads, though, have extracted all that they could from the caper and have moved the capital abroad to where they can get real value. The sad thing is that now we’re left with a country that is only a debt ridden shell – like the Telecom Eireann fiasco.
    It’s great fun!!! – for some and but it’s not the immigrants fault.

  34. WakeUp


    Foreigners are fast outnumbering British people in their own land. It has to stop. The incomers complain to us about things like Christmas. They say “it offends me”, I say “sod off back abroad and leave us alone in peace!”

    The foreigners, in addition to being rude and yabbering away in their own language, do n integrate into our communities at all – in fast they break them up. How is helping the economy sending your wage back to your own country? I don’t understand the ignorant left-wing do-gooders! British soldiers died fighting to save this country and it’s heritage – and we’re throwing away all their good work. This country’s already grossly over-crowded, hence the lack of countryside, especially in the South-East. Send all the foreigners home. I’m voting for the BNP.

  35. Dónall Garvin

    Reply to “WakeUp”

    How far off the mark?

    You say that these foreigner (~30m eh?) who are “fast outnumbering British people in their own land.” are “rude” and then you tell them to ““sod off back abroad and leave us alone in peace!” – I wonder what their opinion of people like you is?

    I’m guessing that you have a poor understanding of economics with your comment “How is helping the economy sending your wage back to your own country?”

    But, I guess your biggest concern is the integration problems that these new peoples pose for the UK (and Ireland) – while I don’t have any quick fixes, I do know that in the past immigrants have been able to assimilate into countries and cultures. Maybe in today’s world, society is already broken-up – people rarely speak to their neighbours, everyone pretty much uses private transport and house-prices create a real division between the halves and have-nots. These problems concern me too – I just don’t like your fixation on “British Heritage” – that is a modern construction, a falacy, based on misconceptions and stereo-types.
    For example, people wear the Poppy to commemorate the “Great War” – but what was the real point of that war, why is it called the “Great War” and not the “Stupid War” – I’m guessing that these immigrants make people like you – Zenophobes – insecure about what it actually means to be British and that is the problem at hand.

    I could disagree with everything you say but i doubt it would change your emotions on the issues here.


  36. Oonagh

    Hi David,

    I recently found this crazy letter posted from someone delusional about immigration issues. In a follow up comment, the author ‘Robert Keelan Meisel’ believes “we need to allow foreigners get citizenship if they so look for it.” !

    I have to say, there are some real time cranks out there nowadays that will do anything to try to open up the floodgates.


  37. b

    What floodgates? Spain, Italy and France has a massive problem with illegals literally being washed up on their shores. Ireland is much harder to get to.

    We have still no coherent immigration policy. We have on the one hand skilled people looking for work here who are not allowed to work in their chosen field and on the other hand whinging and moaning and bellyaching about a creaking an inadequate health service. Match these people up. I have seen them. I have met them and they are ready, qualified and ready to work. Qualifications validated by the HSE.

    There is a lot of bollocks spoken about recent immigration into Ireland. All of us who have any slight connection to a foreign country should present themselves to the Gardai for deportation. I will have to go because in the 16th century I had an ancestor from France.

    The largest group of immigrants to Ireland have British passports. Lets deport them too. And anyone with a Danish or Norse background off you go back home too. St Patrick was a Welshman and DeValera had “Spanish” ancestory.

    What we will have left will be a bunch of backward thinking inbred halfwits that Dev would be proud of. lets go back to the enlightened days of the 1940′s when we wanted to be like another state born in 1948 North Korea.

    We need immigrants and we have a history of it going back at least a thousand years. Are we really going to go back to the days of excluding people like the Jews that Dr.McQuaid went ballistic over during WW2?

    Instead of taking a leaf out of Canada and Australia’s book we have gone with the idiots at the back of the class as regards where we get immigration policy. By all means restrict who gets in but make it at least coherent and transparent and maybe even match it to the needs and capacity of the country. Possibly even base the law on facts and maybe even use some statistics instead of knee jerk reactions to imaginary problems.

    If we were to to carry this argument to its logical end we would deport the Papal Nuncio for supporting crimes against children in Ireland. If he were a company director he would have been deported a long time back.

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