Immigration – by Carl Duffy


I strongly dislike our apparent inability to have a sensible and balanced discussion around immigration without accusations of far-right, bigoted or racist being hurled towards anyone even mildly critical of our current approach. Whilst I am sympathetic towards anyone looking to escape hardship – such as economic struggles or political oppression – this does not invoke support for a laissez-faire style immigration policy.

It can be argued that every person deserves the same opportunities in life and the geographical accident of where one is born should not hold them back. When I first encountered abject poverty whilst volunteering with an NGO in Cambodia, I would have naively advocated any policy that I felt would have improved these circumstances – including an open-door immigration policy into Ireland for Cambodians. However, although immigration brings many benefits, unfortunately there are also costs.

Among the benefits is an array of international cuisine now available in Ireland which has greatly improved our culture and immigration managed properly can yield enormous economic benefits. Contrary to Malthusian ideas surrounding population growth, data indicates that an increased population also increases GDP per capita. A large-scale example of this is the exponential economic growth we have seen in the period 1800-2020 where not only has the global population increased from 1 billion to 7.8billion but people are on average living 45years longer.

So, with such economic benefits, why should we be critical of immigration? This is where we need to ask ourselves who benefits from such gains. Does increased GDP per capita increase the likelihood of a low-paid worker being able to own his/her own home? Is their disposable income increased? It is helpful to be mindful of class dynamics when looking at the different attitudes toward immigration. The ‘elite’ in Irish society can benefit from the cheap labour that immigration encourages, and landlords can charge even more extortionate rents with the increased demand. Whilst the primary cause of the housing crisis is the current Government, immigration is a factor as well. Those on the higher end of the income distribution can experience enormous economic benefits, whilst those on the lower end often feel the negative consequences. This makes it particularly grating when Irish beneficiaries of mass immigration often take a sanctimonious attitude towards those experiencing the costs and instead of trying to understand their position, they label them with a pejorative term.

We can all appreciate that events in places like Ukraine present us with a humanitarian crisis, but are our shameful levels of homelessness not a humanitarian crisis too? Is it fair that some of these homeless have paid taxes throughout their lives, and yet the system they have paid into is now prioritizing foreign opposed domestic humanitarian causes.

In addition to housing concerns, how does immigration affect Irish culture? If we look at Ballyhaunis – where immigrants learn Irish and play GAA sports – then it would seem some immigrants appreciate our culture and to some degree can also become integrated. But is it more likely that immigrants will adapt to our culture and our set of values, or will they maintain some of the values from their country of origin? This town is also home to Ireland’s first mosque outside of Dublin. Can this also be considered adopting to Irish culture or is it a demonstration of how strong an influence Islam – which is often incompatible with our society – continues to have on its adherents.

If we look at France, historically significant suburbs such as Saint-Denis now hold the record for the highest rate of violence in Europe. This might just be a coincidence, or it could be an illustration of the effect an influx of immigrants with a separate set of values has on the host country. Some polls indicate 56% of French people see immigration as a negative. Can we at least be charitable in trying to understand why so many French feel this way instead of interpreting this as a form of bigotry? Maybe they have genuine concerns over France becoming less safe, cartoonists being murdered and the overall effect on society.

Equally, I do not feel it would be particularly appropriate for us to assert some of our values onto other cultures. Exporting our drinking culture or fondness of pork to Saudi Arabia would be incredibly disrespectful – nor would the Saudis tolerate it- and I do not feel it is unreasonable to expect immigrants to adopt to the host nation’s way of life opposed to the other way around. Ireland has been plagued by a history of cultural erosion – majority of us do not even speak our native language- so we need to be extra vigilant in protecting the parts of our culture that have survived.

Of course, Ireland has previously experienced mass immigration before in the form of the Ulster plantation. In the centuries since, the North of Ireland continues to experience a culture clash between people who are largely different types of Christians, would this clash have been even more intense if the planters were followers of a non-Christian religion? With the benefit of hindsight, would we say the plantation of Ulster was positive for our society? The Northern statelet remains a basket-case to this day.

Perhaps, comparing the potential impact of current immigration to the Ulster plantation is seen as a stretch. Yet, if demographic experts such as Eric Kaufmann predictions are accurate then 40% of 14-year-olds in Switzerland will be Muslim by the end of the century. Will Switzerland – which is one of the world’s oldest democracies remain the same sort of society with this demographic change? It is possible it will not even remain a democracy, as democracy is a rare thing by historical standards and even rarer in societies strongly influenced by notions of sharia law.

Is the Republic of Ireland doing enough to safeguard women by letting in immigrants from countries that have a cultural problem with them. Yes, some Irish people have unsavoury attitudes towards women, and not everyone coming from such countries are sexist. Yet, Ireland compared to countries in the Middle East and North Africa tends to be safer for women. In Norway, Hanne Kristin Rohde, a former head of the violent crime section of the Oslo Police Department asserted there was “a clear statistical connection” between sexual violence and male migrants from countries where “women have no value of their own.”

In 2016, research published in Denmark showed that Somali men were around 26 times more likely to commit rape than Danish men, adjusted for age. Is it bigoted to be concerned about immigration from certain countries, when statistically speaking you are arguably increasing the likelihood of rape for women in Ireland? Should the Government be taking a gamble with Irish women’s safety?

Swedish politicians have warned us about the dangers of a reckless approach to immigration, and they have acutely experienced the costs as in 2015 Sweden unenviably had the 2nd highest level of rapes per capita of any country in the world and they are currently one of the most violent countries in Europe. Sweden was once a society I strongly admired and now it has sadly lost some of the things that made it so admirable.

As a nation, we have benefitted from our people emigrating and as a result we may have something embedded into our national psyche that makes us particularly empathetic towards those now escaping hardship. However, is it unreasonable to prioritize our people over non-nationals? Far too many young Irish are emigrating because of things like housing and the cost of living which in turn robs us of far too much home-grown talent. I do not feel we should be forced to be altruistic, and as tragic as the world’s problems are, Ireland has not caused them. So, when it comes to solving our housing crisis, can we not at least limit net migration figures to at most half of our current number of builds? If we are serious about addressing this embarrassment, we need to radically increase the supply of housing whilst managing demand. Of this reduced number of immigrants that we do take in, measures should be put in place to ensure a better gender balance and a more stringent vetting system in an attempt to mitigate the problems other European countries have faced.

As a nation that has faced over 800years of oppression and is currently partitioned, self-preservation is long overdue. We are lucky to now live in an economically prosperous secular democracy and at some stage in the future we will build a united nation for all thirty-two counties. This represents an exciting opportunity and immigration will be one of the issues we will have to contend with. At the very least we can approach those who voice legitimate concerns over the effect of immigration on its current scale with a spirit of generosity instead of dismissing them outright.



4 Responses to Immigration – by Carl Duffy

  1. Donal Kennedy January 28, 2023 at 2:58 pm #

    When de Gaulle, broadcasting from London on the BBC called on French citizens to ignore the vast
    majority of their elected Parliamentarians and rally to his banner,most of the people who rallied to hs banner were North African Moslems as he said himself.

    Algeria was deemed to be part of Metrolitan Grance. After the War Moslems there sought in vain to
    enjoy the rights and privileges of white, culturally Christian French citizens and only sought independence when that had been refused.

    French anti-Semitism produced the the Dreyfus affair of which Zionism is the unholy offspring.

    As a Catholic, it pains me to record that the Catholic Church, historically in Spain was the murderous
    persecutor of Jews, and collaborators with Hitler in France in my lifetime.

    Three months before I was born Catholic Ukranians collaborated with the Nazis in the murder of nearly 34,000 Jewish Men, Women and Children in Kiev in 2 days.

    Currently the Regime in Catholic Ukraine is persecuting Orthodox Christian Ukranians, following
    years of killing and otherwise hurting Russian speaking Ukranians.

    I have been regularly holidaying in France for the past 44 years and my ife and I have a caravan in the Var. We have many French friends.

    But Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite is honoured more in the breach than in the observance in official

    Living and having worked in London since 1964 I have Moslem, Jewish, Hindu, Protestant, atheisr
    and other friends and neighbours and do not regard them as a threat tomyself or to each other.

    I was born on 28 December 1941 and was exactly 3 months in the womb when Ukranian Catholics
    were murdering 34,000 Jews.

  2. paulis January 28, 2023 at 7:14 pm #

    Fair play Karl. People are only asking for a debate on the issue and are being labelled as racist by the politicians who they elected.. The ethnicity of law breaking immigrants is rarely mentioned for fear of giving ammunition to open door immigration opponents. The established parties, including Sinn Fein will pay a price at the polls, but fortunately for them the National Party and Ireland First can’t organise effectively.

  3. PaulG January 29, 2023 at 10:56 pm #

    Well said Karl.

    Unfortunately, there are those who have been determined make ireland a multiethnic meting pot at any cost, through the importation of huge numbers of young african and middle eastern male economic migrants who have largely kept their female family members at home.

    Now that we have a massive influx of real refugees, mostly Ukrainian women and children, whose husband and brothers are fighting a totalitarian empire, which also threatens many of our our EU partners, there is no accommodation left to house these women and children.

    Belatedly, even the liberal journalists who seem to instruct our politicians, are beginning to realise that we simply can not afford to house everyone who turns up at Dublin airport, when we can’t even build enough houses for the people we have.

    The obvious unviability of open door immigration will be even more clear in the years to come as 3rd world population explosions, Climate change and proxy Wars between the 2 emerging blocks, mean that there will be Billions, not millions of global refugees heading for Europe.

    The only question is whether Ireland will wake up and break from Franco-German EU policy – like Poland – or will we wait until the EU finally act, when it’s far too late.

  4. About time January 30, 2023 at 7:10 am #

    Very well written article. The media / politicians can’t seem to work out the difference between a benefits / economic migrant flying in from a safe country and destroying his passport and a genuine refugee from a war torn country.

    Keep it up.