Kevin Meyers, Dublin Independent, September 16, 2007
We could, of course, deal with the substantive matter, that of immigration itself, but instead we prefer to deal with its symptoms—and in the usual cowardly way in which we address anything which is a little difficult or embarrassing.
Now look: I’m not a complete fool. People don’t turn columnists to read the same stuff, day after day after day. Yet that’s what I’ve been doing, endlessly writing on this same subject.
No doubt by this time, the one reader left is some old wino sitting in a doorway in his own personal pool of warmth, scanning these few column inches in the belief that these are the greyhound results. No matter. Here I go again.
Immigration is now not merely the dominant feature of Irish life, it is the greatest threat to the existence of the Irish nation as a coherent, and cohesive whole.
No country has ever accepted, never mind assimilated, the volumes of foreigners now present in this state. We have some 400,000 legal immigrants; but everyone knows that the army of illegals, especially Africans and Chinese, is vast, and probably tops 200,000. In all, Ireland has received at least 600,000 immigrants, most of them within the past five years. It could be many more. No one has the least idea.
In the US, such immigration would translate into an inward population movement of 45 million. In the UK, the figure would be nine million. Needless to say, neither state would be so idiotic or feckless as allow such vast numbers to enter.
Only Ireland would be so idiotic and so morally lethargic as to allow such massive inward population movements.
And of course, we haven’t got the resources to cope with the consequences of such an influx. But worse than our lack of resources, is our lack of courage in confronting the issue.
We do not have policies, but inept evasiveness: and perhaps worst of all, we have a posturing gallery of home-grown jackanapes ready to shriek “racism” wherever and whenever they see that things are not going quite the way that immigrants want.
Thus, on any discussion on RTE, especially from its newsroom, immigrants are never held responsible for choosing to come here. Instead, we hear endless complaints that Irish institutions had not prepared themselves properly for their arrival.
On the News at One on Monday, African after African in Balbriggan complained there were no places for their children in the existing local schools.
Not once was the question posed: what was the real reason for the Africans not having places in schools? Answer: they’d only just come here.
Instead, Africans who were just off the boat were allowed to accuse us of racism for not having school places awaiting their children.
There’s also the Paddy- factor in all this. It’s impossible for any outsider to understand that this state is almost pathologically incapable of planning anything.
This is the land of the Red Cow Roundabout and motorways without service stations, rest-stops or toilets. So how could we be expected seven years ago to have planned school-building projects in north county Dublin for Africans as yet unborn?
If blaming ourselves for our failure to plan for Africa’s educational needs were not fatuous enough, some poor spokeswoman from the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin had to defend the Catholic Church against an RTE journalist’s accusations of bigotry.
Naturally, in this unprincipled liberal Ireland, for the Catholic Church to insist that Catholic schools have a primary duty to educate Catholics is nowadays both racist and sectarian.
But of course, no one on RTE would ever dream of proposing that Islamic madrasahs should take in Jewish, Catholic or Hindu pupils: in the new Ireland, the only people who are expected to bend their own rules are the Irish Catholic majority.
Accompanying this presumption is the pious and all-prevalent dogma that immigrants will on arrival abandon ancient loyalties, and will promptly don a Hibernian mantle: hence the brainless cliche, wittered endlessly by journalists and politicians alike, “the New Irish”.
Sorry. This is conceited gibberish. Why would a Pole surrender something which the Polish people have fought for a thousand years to retain?
Why the presumption that an Asian Muslim who lives in Ireland is in any way Irish?
My mother lived most of her life in England, but never for a second thought of herself as English.
The media should be asking the big question, ’Why are we still admitting hundreds of thousands of immigrants?’
Instead, we are obsessing with the relatively trivial question of: Are the Irish people, who after all have admitted vast armies of strangers to their national home, racist?
This is self-hatred at its most pathetic, and its most self-defeating.
Whether Irish people are “racist” is irrelevant. We have created a society whose apparent cohesiveness is totally dependent on immigration-fuelled economic growth. That growth must one day come to an end.
Then what, in Darndale, Coolock, or even Balbriggan?