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The Challenge of Migrant Integration in Ireland

Author(s): Piaras Mac Éinrí

Journal: International Journal of Multicultural Societies
ISSN 1817-4574

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 75;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: migrant integration | migrant integration in Ireland | migration policies | EU countries migration policies

Immigration now greatly exceeds emigration in several peripheral EUcountries traditionally characterised by high rates of emigration.While some empathy with immigrants may well exist because of thesenew settlement countries’ own emigration histories, they lack thepolicy, legislation, infrastructure, support organisations andexperience of those European countries long used to dealing withimmigration. The challenge now is both to respond in the short termto the needs and rights of these new members of our societies, and toaddress in the medium to long term the task of building a new societyin 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.
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