The Challenge of Migrant Integration in Ireland

Piaras Mac Éinrí

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Immigration now greatly exceeds emigration in several peripheral EU countries traditionally characterised by high rates of emigration. While some empathy with immigrants may well exist because of these new settlement countries’ own emigration histories, they lack the policy, legislation, infrastructure, support organisations and experience of those European countries long used to dealing with immigration. The challenge now is both to respond in the short term to the needs and rights of these new members of our societies, and to address in the medium to long term the task of building a new society in which place of origin and ethno-national identity are no longer the sole defining vectors of identity. This paper examines endeavours to advance integration in Ireland, focusing in particular on the public authorities’ statutory duties to promote equal opportunities and good race relations but also on the more general debate about identity, citizenship and the accommodation of diversity. While Ireland and Scotland have much in common, the two countries have contrasting legal and policy bases for the pursuit of integration.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:

Mac Éinrí, Piaras. The Challenge of Migrant Integration in Ireland. IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies. 2007, vol.9, no.1, pp.75-90. UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574.

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