Ask A Broadsheet Reader


A citizenship ceremony in the Convention Centre, Dublin

What kind of immigrants are OK in Ireland?

Siobhan Harvey writes:

I have a friend. She’s an immigrant, although she never thought of herself that way until recently when she began to receive negative comments on social media about not being Irish.

She’s married to an Irishman, although 9 months into the marriage she found herself in the court before a judge getting a barring order to protect herself. The judge granted it readily, and extended it to include my friend’s sons as well.

My friend first came to live in Ireland over 20 years ago, but as fate would have it, never lived here the continuous 5 years required for citizenship. Ireland is her home, as it is her son’s, and she will be seeking citizenship within the next 18 to 24 months once she is eligible.

In the meantime, she is indeed legally resident here.

My friend is very outspoken. She was an advocate for political and social reform in her country of origin, as she is here in Ireland. She seeks fair services and timely health care for all, but especially for disabled children – which is her passion. You see, her eldest son is severely disabled.

She fights daily, not only for her son’s care, but for the hundreds of other children like her son across Ireland. She speaks out against homelessness. And while she asks for help, she certainly also gives help to others.

Yet, there are those who think she has no right to speak out against what is so obviously wrong with our healthcare system; no right to seek assistance for her son despite the fact she is a legal resident; and no right to receive any assistance from the government at all.

What I want to know is why our citizens feel this way – and when did we begin to feel this way?

If my friend was Syrian, would it change these people’s minds or would it only enhance their position that as an immigrant she should not speak out and not receive any help?

What if she was Polish? Mexican? Does it matter what country my friend is originally from, and if so, why does it matter?



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44 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

  1. AnAccountant

    I might have an argument with my brother and think of him as a bit of a dikhed for a couple of weeks. If someone else referred to my brother as a dikhed during that period, I might take issue with it. Maybe those kinds of feelings are the same kinds of feelings motivating those who take issue with your friend. Or it could be an inferiority complex. We interpret criticism from ‘outsiders’ as condescension. Either way, the problem isn’t rational so I’m not sure the answer to it can be either.

        1. Clampers Outside!

          Aaaaaaand the sky is blue. You’re fierce bright, you told someone on the internet there were racists in the alt-right.

          Amazing insight, thanks for pointing that out… I’m sure someone said to you.

          If you present your note book to Broadsheet admin, I’ll send them a goldstar that you can put on it.

  2. newsjustin

    “Yet, there are those who think she has no right to speak out against what is so obviously wrong with our healthcare system; no right to seek assistance for her son despite the fact she is a legal resident; and no right to receive any assistance from the government at all.”

    And they are wrong, obviously.

    You’re friend’s nationality doesn’t really matter in this case. If someone was seeking asylum it might.

  3. seanydelight

    I hope your friend and her children get help if they need it.
    Not really enough detail there to express any opinion on the issue. Is the point that some people don’t like immigrants to have rights?
    Its pitiful, but it’s true. And enough people feel that way that the rules are there and must be respected as a result.

    My wife and I have some problems with public services as she is non-EU national as well. But the rules are the rules, we had to accept that. Of course they can change so, don’t despair.

  4. Malta

    When did Irish people start to think like that? Probably around the time we started having serious numbers of immigrants and definitely before the referendum in 2004 that decided that children born here to foreign nationals weren’t automatically entitled to citizenship.

    We’re not as cead mile failte as we think.

    1. realPolithicks

      As an Irish person who has lived in the U.S. for thirty years it constantly astonishes me that so many Irish people apparently feel this way. Ireland has been exporting its young people to many other countries for a couple of hundred years at this point, now that the tables are being turned to some extent it ought to be a little more generous to people who feel that Ireland would be a good place to start a new life.

    2. AnAccountant

      “When did Irish people start to think like that?”

      There have always been Irish people that thought like that and always will be. It’s an emotional thing, not a logical thing.

        1. AnAccountant

          Please remember that next time one of those alt right guys you’re offended for but definitely not friends with starts trying to make an “intellectual” argument about Muslims or immigrants or women.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            ” offended for ” – LOL! …any evidence of such… No? Didn’t think so, just your accusation.

            The rest is quite rambling and just you making further accusations of something you believe I have done.

            Plse don’t do that without the provision of any evidence, it makes you look silly and somewhat idiotic, thank you.

  5. Catherinecostelloe

    I think its marvellous to see an immigrant speak up and especially for the disabled. I have an Irish acquaintance living in UK, born with a club foot and he gets an adapted new car every three years on disability scheme. You wait here for a walking stick for up to 10 weeks. Always remember that idle and stupid remarks should be regarded with contempt they deserve. Dont take any notice of rude social media comments because if they met you and knew you, they may well be ashamed of themselves. Be nice!

  6. pixel_pimp

    I’m so over “nations” and “nationality” – we are citizens of the world, passengers on this planet. The thought of people squabbling and fighting based on their location or “ethnicity” would be comical if it weren’t so disgusting.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Open borders then, without nations, you have open borders. And you want that, seeing as you are…. so over “nations” and “nationality”.

      And the short time after open borders and every hospital in Europe is collapsing under the strain along with all the other services, and this immigrant lady gets nothing at all for her child, what then?

      When taxes are raised for everyone to pay for your open borders and economy collapses, what then?

      ” I’m so over “nations” and “nationality” ” – virtue signalling platitudinal nonsense

      1. AnAccountant

        If you could relax for a minute, you might see that not every idea is a threat. “Nations” are just ideas. I can’t touch your Irishness. It is a concept. You could have an interesting discussion over that idea or you could fly off the handle talking about immigrants coming to destroy your way of life.

          1. realPolithicks

            I believe that what she is suggesting is that since you appear to see so many different issues as a “threat” you have adopted a “bunker mentality” the definition of which is ” a state of mind especially among members of a group that is characterized by chauvinistic defensiveness and self-righteous intolerance of criticism.”. Frankly I’m inclined to agree with her, you used to be a reasonably funny and interesting commenter here on BS but IMHO you’ve morphed into somebody with a pretty thin skin who responds to criticism or disagreement by attacking the messenger. Don’t ask me to provide “proof” as I don’t have any intention of doing so, I’ve simply noticed this change in your commentary over the past year or so. I preferred the “old” you.

          2. Clampers Outside!

            That’s a fine comment. My tolerance of bull blew in the US election and the robots that followed and ate up all the losers lies.
            And when the like of me didn’t support such bullpoo. I got set upon regularly by righteous loons, not yourself mind. I guess I got sick of it.
            As I said, fair comment tho

          3. realPolithicks

            That’s fair enough Clampers, you’re obviously entitled to your own opinion on any given subject.

    2. Brain warp

      Couldn’t agree more

      The nation nanny state is a dead concept

      People have to accept there’s a trade off no one will accept blanket welfare for all comers and also a neoliberal tyranny it’s too easy for a caveman like Donald Trump or Clampers outside to exploit

  7. :-Joe

    It all started in Africaaaaacacacacaaaaa!!!!….

    Get your dna analyzed… it’ll make you think twice about looking down at other races with an air of superiority. In fact, it should be part of the punishment for perpetrators of race related crimes to put some manners and sense into them.

    Good luck to you and your friend with your problems but you’re more than a little naieve thinking Ireland is not awash with bigotry, racism and xenophobia, much like britain and the US.

    Fun fact, the whites in the US will be a minority by 2050, that’ll be fun to watch developing if we last it here that long , what with all the ICBM’s and nuclear warheads flying around at the moment.

    Hi ho, hi ho, it’ll have to be off to Mars we go …. da da da, da da….


  8. badatmemes

    Put away your mirror.
    Look outside your windows.

    There’s so many peoplr you might love if you knew them.

  9. EightersGonnaEight

    She’s not Irish. Period.

    But what does that matter? Speak away. Seems like you have an issue with Mexicans, Syrians and Poles. Thought about going to the U.S.?

Comments are closed.

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