Ireland's immigrants return home, fear of racism.


Sunday May 4 2008

Thats interesting about Transylvania FC, I played against them earlier in the season (before christmas) and they were excellent, really good side. but I’ve been looking at the league table and in the last few months their form dipped alot…now I know why!

Out of curiosity, anyone know what league they’re in? … mmigration

hmmm. the guardian.

more irish news being broken by foreigners. like the imf report on the overvalued housing market.

are they all lying? or is our meeja intent on not ‘talking us down’. like miriam.

LSL Major 1 sunday, they were running away with it earlier in the season.

Resentment of immigrants (I think some term other than racism is called for) is only to be expected among lower income sectors of the economy. I often hear business types claim that foreigners work harder and are cheaper and more flexible. They allow businesses to expand their margins, since they don’t have pass on the cheaper labour costs to their retail customers because there is so little genuine competition in this country. During the boom there were real shortages and politicians used this to justify the policy. Now that we are in recession and job competition becomes cutthroat, and dole queues swell with Irish unemployed (many Eastern Europeans can’t claim dole or vote), I wonder how their tune will change.
Those in the higher income brackets have no experience of such competition for jobs - except for those working in multinationals who find their outfit transferred lock stock and barrel to Eastern Europe or the Far East - but wait until they find their children shut out of jobs and their tune will quickly change too. It’s at this point politicians will begin to sing a different song (they never respond to the concerns of lower income groups).
There is some anecdotal evidence that some foreigners are returning home, but net immigration is still positive (c. 7000 a month) amid plenty of reports here and in the UK of Eastern Europeans putting down permanent roots.
I predict that businesses will continue to favour immigrants over native Irish in the lower income job segment, and that this will become the real hot button issue of 2008/2009.

Eamon Dunphy would call it Ethnic Criticism

Not bad at all. Pity about the team falling apart.

Is that figure correct and is it higher than the volume of immigrants leaving?
My own feeling was that we were approaching a tipping point where the outflow number would be greater.

A more conventional term is xenophobia. The problem is that phobias are by nature irrational fears. If I was a low income native Irish worker, I don’t think my fear of economic displacement by immigrant competition during a recession would be irrational.
I might justifiably believe that my government had exposed the most vulnerable sector of society to sharp competition in order to bolster the profits of the highest earning sectors. I might ask why my sector had been singled out for such treatment when the rest of society remains highly uncompetitive and protected by a plethora of restrictive practices - witness the report this weekend that Irish legal fees were higher than in London or Boston.

Transylvania FC are in the Leinster Senior League, not sure for how long however, they seem to be a bit of a fly by night outfit. :blush: … 25938.html

That equates to roughly 7000 new PPS numbers issued per month to foreign workers in the first 2 months this year. It is not net immigration.

Oh my God. You should win some kind of Gong price for that one.

They would be higher in the league only their keeper is terrible with crosses!

It really doesn’t matter whether there are immigrants or not. If you are a low income worker in Ireland during the boom, then you’re going to lose out during the downturn in any case.

By definition if you’re bottom of the pile there’s going to be more competition for your piece of the pie.

So while fear of economic displacement might be rational, a belief that it’s the immigrants that you have to worry about and the xenophobic attitude that springs from it is irrational.

It’s possible that immigrants are willing to put up with very poor conditions and comforts because they see it as a few years of hardship to save up a lot of money. Or one family member endures hardship here so that he can send money home to his family.

The Irish have done this in other countries when they’ve gone abroad.

The history of immigration around the world is that within a generation or two immigrants have pulled themselves up the economic ladder. Their kids are attending colleges, becoming professionals etc. It happens surprisingly quickly.

As a society we need to ask what has to happen to enable the natives to pull themselves up in the same way. Can we do any more? Will there always be an unemployable segment of society, who pass on their unemployable status to their offspring? Can the cycle really be broken?

If there are familes who can’t pull themselves up generation after generation, is that our failure or theirs?

Given that immigrants show that it is possible to get ahead, should we take any notice of people who complain about immigrants “taking their opportunities”?

I don’t know.


I never miss a chance to give this country a good kicking - one of my favourite pastimes.

But I have to say I have seen almost no evidence of problem-levels of racism in this country in recent years, and certainly not towards EEers. Which of course does not mean it doesn’t exist, just that it does not strike me as noticeably out of line with trace racism you find anywhere. So I’d say there’s no doubt many of them are leaving for economic reasons, but racism? I’m not buying that.

Also, and I am sorry to say this because it is a pretty nasty generalisation, but I think it is broadly true: probably the most intolerant areas of Europe are the assession states. That goes for racism, homophobia, sexism. Yuk, I feel dirty for saying that, but I don’t think it’s broadly untrue.

Your second paragraph, which describes a well established feature of immigrant behaviour, provides a perfectly rational basis for why low income natives fear economic marginalisation, unless they too are ready to compete in the “race to the bottom” in terms of wages and conditions. It is precisely the behaviour of immigrants they have to fear, because they are willing to go to such extraordinary lengths to survive and prosper. Of course, the term “extraordinary” is just our perception. For most immigrants, the alternative is much worse.

I simply question why it is the low income sector of our economy that is exclusively singled out for this Darwinian treatment, while other sectors of the economy bathe in the protective womb of restrictive practices.

Well, we’ll see how it pans out. The politicians sold unrestricted immigration as a necessary measure to cope with labour shortages. At that time, most continental European economies were coping with high unemployment and banned worker immigrants from the accession countries. They haven’t yet lifted these restrictions as far as I know. Apparently they have yet to be convinced of the cogency of your arguments. But then, the principle of social solidarity remains strongly rooted in those countries.

Now that we face a labour surplus, it will be interesting to watch how our politicians amend their sales pitch.

I think they’d be better if they gave up the soccer and stuck to Garlic Football.

Septic Crank has nailed here.

One has only to look west to the USA to see what a steady stream of cheap and willing labour will do to a society. The lower paid and unskilled often end up competing with a work force that is more willing to perform an unpleasant task and do it for less.
As a result those who fail to do reasonably well in school have faced a very real drop in income over the last twenty years. Labour intensive unskilled services have all seen long term drops in real income. Jobs such construction laborers, hotel services, house painting maid service etc.

Some occupations have successfully hidden behind the shields of regulation or licensing requirements, and many more have formed exclusive organizations that heavily promote and protect members . Using trademarked names ie “Realtor” an organization can exclude new labour from competing directly.

This may be the path Ireland set itself upon when it chose an open its borders .

Disclosure… I am pro immigration, but feel it is unjust to throw the unskilled to the wolves.

You make valid points, but I don’t agree that the low income sector will be exclusivly singled out. However I do acknowledge that they will be disproportionaly affected.

It is true that various forms of protectionism exist in some occupations, and that state jobs are guaranteed. However, there are plenty of people out there with middle class jobs (especially with multi-nationals, but also indigenous private sector) who will equally be affected.

If we start seeing jobs being lost quicker than new ones are created, you can be sure that many such people will be unable to find a new job which pays as well as their previous one. So they too will probably have to compete for jobs which they may once have considered “beneath them”. Obviously such jobs will have a lower salary, which could hit people hard considering the size of mortgage payments many are lumbered with.

Indeed you mentioned yourself the scenario of the children of these people also being unable to find jobs in the future and how this may affect the political landscape.

In the US, it’s not just the poor who’ve become poorer, but also many people who consider themselves middle class. The same pattern has happened to a lesser extent in the likes of Germany and France. I expect to see the same happen here. Only the super wealthy will be really immune.