The Planned Destruction of Ireland’s Cultural Identity

Those unfamiliar with what is happening in Ireland are occasionally taken aback by some of the news stories emerging from the country. In 2021, for instance, a black African refugee won the Miss Ireland beauty contest. The fastest runner in Ireland, and the holder of the national record for the 60-metre race, is Israel Olatunde, whose parents are Nigerian. Seeing black people of African heritage rise to such prominence in a Celtic nation tells us that what was, until a few decades ago, an ethnically homogenous, fairly conservative, and almost wholly Catholic nation on the very fringe of Europe, has changed.

In the mid-1990s, Ireland had ambitions to become an economic and industrial powerhouse, transitioning from a predominantly agrarian economy to one that could compete in the modern world alongside countries like Singapore. The phrase 'Celtic Tiger' was coined during this time with the intention of drawing comparisons between Ireland's new global outlook and the booming economies of the Far East. Such a move would, of course, involve interacting with the rest of the world in a more dynamic way than had traditionally been the case. In particular, it meant allowing, even encouraging, the free movement of people into the country from other parts of the world. These immigrants would serve as agents of change while simultaneously revolutionising Ireland's very identity. All of this was to be an integral part of the new and outward-looking Ireland.

There was great enthusiasm for the idea of a different kind of country, one whose time had come to shine on the world stage, and to begin with, everything appeared to be going swimmingly. In Britain, which had, of course, at one time ruled an empire, the influx of newcomers from old colonial possessions such as the Indian sub-continent and the islands of the Caribbean took place in a fairly haphazard way over the decades. In Ireland, however, the process was planned and instituted with astonishing rapidity. Almost overnight, as it seemed to many in the country, black Africans and Asian Muslims started to appear in the streets, first in Dublin and other large cities, and then in almost every town. From being a rather inward-looking nation, one more at ease with contemplating the past than engaging with the future, Ireland was suddenly in the thick of such thoroughly modern phenomena as crowds of asylum-seekers and the conversion of buildings into mosques.

As long as the excitement of being the 'Celtic Tiger' lasted and the boom continued, most people in Ireland were enchanted and perhaps a little carried away by the notion that their nation, once regarded in Europe as something of a sleepy backwater, was now a serious player and could be ranked alongside Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. While this mood lasted, a blind eye was turned to the increasing immigration, which was bringing about gradual alterations in culture. Until the 1990s, the sight of a black person in Ireland had been rare, and almost everyone encountered was white and born in the country. It was when the boom started to falter that the long-term consequences of these policies became apparent. By that time, though, the trend toward deliberately boosting immigration and transforming Ireland from a single and unified culture into a multicultural society had become an unstoppable juggernaut.

Five years ago, the then Housing Minister, Simon Covenay, stated, "My goal is to make Dublin the most dynamic international capital city in Europe while targeting a doubling in the size of our other cities by 2040." He specifically mentioned that Cork, Galway, and Waterford would be among the cities that should double in size. The only way this could be achieved, of course, would be through massive immigration, raising the possibility that, within a few years, half the population of Ireland's cities would be foreigners. For many, this was a step too far, especially since a housing crisis has meant that today there is an estimated shortfall of 250 thousand homes in Ireland, even with the current number of people in the country. How this might work out in the future and enable a city like Cork to support twice as many people as presently live there has never been explained.

The current situation in Ireland is that only 75 per cent of the population identifies as having white Irish ancestry, and this proportion continues to decline. In the heart of Dublin, makeshift tent communities have emerged due to a shortage of housing for asylum-seekers and immigrants. Many Irish people are witnessing a transformation of their country, particularly as Ireland becomes more integrated into the European Union. This integration is gradually eroding the traditional concepts of Irish statehood and nationality. Some unusual and disturbing incidents, such as the murder and horrific mutilation of two gay men by Yousef Palani, a Muslim, in Sligo in 2022, have drawn national attention and sparked concerns about unchecked immigration. In an effort to prevent a potential backlash against immigration, the Irish government is introducing the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill. This draconian piece of legislation is thought necessary to counter opposition to government policies on immigration. It is a ferocious legal vehicle which many feel is designed to prohibit discussion and limit the freedom to express legitimate concerns about the country’s future.

Ireland's cultural identity as a Celtic nation with a strong Catholic tradition has been irrevocably altered, and there appears to be no indication of the pace of change slowing down. In just the past year, Ireland has welcomed 70,000 Ukrainian refugees and 13,651 asylum-seekers. Within a few years, Ireland will no longer be recognisable as being in any sense a Celtic or even Christian country and when that time comes, the nation as we know it will have vanished for good.