Group 2's members include...Rachael Carpus,Joe Allan, Lauren Warner, Julia McQuade, and Eileen Burner.
“Attitudes towards Polish Immigrants to the Republic of Ireland: An Integrated Threat Analysis” is a study that took place in 2009 to discover the connection between Irish emigration patterns and their views on immigration into their own country as it relates to the Polish population. The authors of the study take an in-depth look at why there is such an anti-immigrant climate in Ireland currently. They discuss segments of history in which the Irish population had to leave in search of a better life, much like the period between 1800 to 1920 when over ten million people fled Ireland due to the poor standard of living conditions and unemployment rates being sky high. The Irish population then returned to their homeland in the late 1900’s as a result of the economic boom in the country known as the “Celtic Tiger”. Not only did a lot of Irish-born people return but a new wave of foreign immigrants followed suit in search of their own prosperity. This mass immigration of foreigners led to Irish politicians having to create new citizenship laws in 2004. This did not stop a predominantly Polish segment staying in the country due to rights given to them as being part of the European Union. An effect of this was a lot of anti-Polish rhetoric being produced by Irish nationals. This mass influx of negativity led many citizens to treat the immigrant minority with trepidation; as a whole different society within their nation, engendering the very existence of the nation, an integrated threat. The study is able to scientifically understand the thoughts of the public and their fears over the “threat” these Polish immigrants create. They represent these findings in calculations regarding such factors as “skill”, “anxiety created”, and “realistic threat”. These factors try to help explain the Irish prejudice towards this Polish group. The study does not finish on a scientific theory and mathematical equations; it transforms into a philosophical evaluation on how these factors lead the human mind to express feelings of discrimination and prejudice and the necessity to change such feelings towards the immigrant community. Ireland has always been “the land of one thousand welcomes” and this research shows there is a battle to retain this title they have rightfully deserved for generations.
Kinga Olszewska, the author of “Transgressing the Nation: Cultural Practices of Polish Migrants in Ireland”, depicts the multitude of Polish cultural beliefs among emigrants. Utilizing the research from an article by Piotr Winczorek, novels by Magdalena Orzeł, Iwona Słabuszewska-Krauze, and Maria Janion, Polish migrants travel to Ireland for a variety of political and economic pursuits. Olszewska explains the term “Old Emigration” as the eighteenth-century reasons causing the people of Poland to emigrate. The majority of these migrants left Poland as an act of protecting their traditions, language, and homeland culture. The “New Emigrants” are marked by the post-war period, beginning in 1989. The “New Emigrants” are socially different from the “Old Emigrants” because of their ability to become mobile with great ease and the transnational culture they participate in.
In addition to the historical context, Olszewska offers valuable and interesting connections between Poland and Ireland, stating that “First, it never had an established migrant community prior to 2004, the year when Poland joined the EU; secondly, it attracted mostly young and often well-educated individuals; and finally, the large numbers of migrants possessed varying degrees of English proficiency” (Olszewska 28). It is noted that Polish migrants in Ireland lead individualist lives and are geared for success. For example. Olszewska references from the novel Dublin: My Polish Karma, written by a Polish studies scholar, all who reached great heights in Ireland. The novel is made up of vignettes from Polish migrants who moved to Ireland. The people all experience common migrant challenges like the difficulty of finding a job and the financial challenges forcing them out of their home country, however, each person transpires into a success due to their work ethic. Given the name, the essay explores further details regarding Polish nationalism and patriotism, the differences between the “Old Emigrants” and “New Emigrants”, and the various ways the traits of the Polish have impacted Ireland. Kinga Olszewska has published additional essays regarding social and cultural patterns of the Irish and Polish people; for example an essay titled “Wanders Across Language: Exile in Irish and Polish Literature of the Twentieth Century. (Studies in Comparative Literature, 12)”.
In Klimczak’s Island of Hope: Polish Immigrants in Ireland, readers are given a closer look into what the Polish immigrant experience really is in Ireland. This article explores topics including Polish communities and bonds in Ireland, issues faced by immigrants in their new country, and the struggle over integration. As an immigrant herself, Klimczak is able to offer insight into what it truly means to be someone who is originally Polish and living in Ireland. The article navigates the struggles of building a home in a new country that is not always welcoming both politically and personally.
From the beginning of the article it is clear that in order to truly understand Polish immigrants in Ireland, one must first understand their reasons for leaving Poland. There is not one uniform immigrant narrative for why people chose to leave Poland, but there were some consistent themes. The article notes economic, social, and political factors that may have pushed people out of Poland such as difficulty finding employment and earning a living wage. However, there is also care taken to ensure that people aren’t being essentialized as expressed in one of the interviews, “It is a complex of events which makes us come here. It is also a very individual issue. Each of us has a unique story. It is true, we want to make our lives better, we want to make our future happier” (Klimczak 38). It is clear that although people are part of a group of immigrants, there is emphasis on the need to still see people as individuals.
However, Ireland is not a country that is problem free for the immigrants either. The article articulates that job insecurity and economic struggles are still a very prominent problem for immigrants when they first arrive in Ireland. On top of trying to combat these issues, they are also struggling to create a home for themselves in a new country. Many immigrants moving from Poland to Ireland also have the added struggle of a language barrier. The complexity of this issue is articulated in the following article excerpt, “Their limited knowledge of English disadvantages Polish people in the labour market and results in their very often being unable to defend their rights when facing exploitation, substandard working conditions and low wages” (Klimczak 40). Although immigrants may be able to escape some of the issues that they are fleeing from, it is still a difficult transition into their new country.
In spite of, and in some cases due to, the issues faced, Klimczak shows the strong Polish communities that have been maintained in Ireland. People are not able to have meaningful existences in isolation, so they turn to each other to create a community inside of the larger community of the country that is not always welcoming to them. In many cases, immigrants have to try to find a way to fit in and be accepted into the society. Through doing this, they largely have to give up parts of their cultures. It is a very one-sided process. Although Ireland does not act as a paradise for the immigrants, it remains a beacon of hope.
This essay, “The Experience of Discrimination among Newly Arrived Poles in Ireland and the Netherlands,” by Frances McGinnity and Mérove Gijsberts looks at the experiences of Polish immigrants to Ireland and the Netherlands and the discrimination they faced upon arrival. This discrimination greatly affects their identity, integration, overall quality of life, and occupational chances. In order to accomplish this, it takes the form of an immigrant panel survey and compares the discrimination faced in each country, comparing the impact of the country context on discrimination against Polish immigrants. As Polish immigrants account for about half of the total increase in non-Irish groups residing in Ireland, this group is worth a study of this quantity.
After the recession, attitudes towards Polish immigrants declined, as they were seen as a threat to both the economy and Irish culture. The essay then advances different theories about the immigrant experience after arrival. One of these include the effects of contact to the host country, as the longer one is in the host country, the more room there is for discrimination. However, spending more time in the culture and with the people of the host country can also work to decrease discrimination. Language capabilities and the media also play a large role in this. McGinnity and Gijsberts also look at the effects of gender differences on discrimination experiences, as men and women tend to work in different occupations and, therefore, experience different discrimination. One of the central findings of this essay is that there has been an upsurge in the judgement that Polish immigrants have experienced in the Netherlands, but the discrimination has remained the same in Ireland. Many factors have contributed to this, as found in the survey, including opposition between cultural factions, negative public debate, and Eastern European immigrant typecasts.
Overall, this essay argues that the country context and one’s own status has a large effect on the discrimination that immigrants encounter in their host country, especially Polish immigrants in Ireland and the Netherlands. It is a useful resource when studying Polish-Irish immigrant discrimination and its multifaceted roots