Tag Archives: Una-Minh Kavanagh

Ah here.

Vietnam-born, County Kerry-reared, Irish-speaking writer and activist Úna-Minh Kavanagh endures online meta bigotry.


Previously: Humiliating Una

Thanks James Kirk


“In Ireland, ancestry means everything. Yet to an increasing number of Irish people — immigrants and the children of immigrants — Irish ancestry remains painfully elusive. In May this harsh fact confronted Una-Minh Kavanagh [Above] on the streets of Dublin. A 22-year-old woman who was adopted by an Irish woman from her native Vietnam when she was just six weeks old, Ms. Kavanagh is thoroughly Irish, down to her thick County Kerry accent and her mastery of the Irish language, which only 10 percent of the country speaks fluently.”

“But the group of Irish teenagers who accosted her that afternoon only saw her Asian features. In the middle of her capital city, they grabbed her and shook her head, called her a “chink” and spat on her face. Bystanders gathered, but no one stepped in to help.”

Ireland, like the rest of the world, has changed dramatically with the rise in global migration. Seventeen percent of Irish citizens were born outside of the country. Yet the Irish have been markedly slow — politically, socially and legally — to recognize foreign-born citizens as fellow Irish men and women.

“A June report released by the Economic and Social Research Institute, a Dublin think tank, found that 22 percent of Irish nationals, polled in 2010, thought that immigrants from “poor non-E.U. countries” should not be allowed into Ireland, compared with just 6 percent in 2002. The study’s sample of 2,000 people reveals that Irish views on immigration are among the most negative in the European Union.

“And, in a report issued in August, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, a nonprofit organization, said that it was fielding five times as many reports of “serious racist incidents” than a year ago — from an average of four a month in 2012 to more than 50 incidents in just the previous 10 weeks.”

“It is hard to imagine how equality can be attained when people born on the island to migrant parents do not have an automatic right to citizenship, while third-generation Irish-Americans are frequently granted citizenship rights based solely on their distant ancestral connection.”

Some Irish Need Not Apply (New York Times)

Previously: Humiliating Una