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ENG 208: British/Irish Immigration Literature: A Student-Curated Display: Group 4

Group 4

Group 4's project is...Nigerian Migrants in Ireland

Group 4's members include...Olivia Robinson, Alyvia Benson, Kevin Lee, Eddie Daou, and Steven Napoli.


Overview by Olivia Robinson

Nigerians began to migrate to Ireland after World War II, after Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960.  This migration movement is not restricted to only one Nigerian ethnic group; “While Yoruba, Ibo, Efik, Ishan, Urhobo, Ijaw, Idoma Benin crossed geographical and territorial boundaries of Africa looking for the Promised Land… most Hausa, Tiv, Egede, Nupe and Fulani limit their movement to within Nigeria and the North African mainland in searching for their dreams.  Nigerian migrants have recently turned their attention to Ireland, particularly an ever-increasing inward flow to Dublin… Ireland may well be considered a new haven for Nigerian migrants.” (Komolafe, 2)  Currently, Nigerians are the largest African group represented in Ireland. 

In the year 2008, the Nigerian community in Ireland was steadily growing.  During this year, the Nigerian community was “profiled by the Irish Central Statistics Office alongside other ‘non-national’ groups in a ‘population profile’ series,” revealing that, “the Nigerian population was concentrated in Irish towns and cities, with only 4% of the Nigerians living in ‘rural areas’ while 40% of the total population of Nigerians lived in Dublin City or suburbs.” (White and Veale, 10)  A few years later, in 2011, the Nigerian population was predominantly female, which resulted because of an Irish citizenship law.  Before the 2004 referendum took place, this law was automatically applied to children who were born in Ireland.  This law allowed for migrant parents to continue to live in Ireland with their legally Irish citizen children.  

The Dublin Cityspace in Ireland has become especially important to Nigerian migrants.  Dr. Vanessa Stout, who conducted a study about Nigerians in Ireland, writes, “Dublin cityspace not only became a place to live, but participants describe it as home, as a part of themselves, regardless of limitation and racism in the city… Therefore, it was not just one particular area that created an important pathway for incorporation rather the whole cityspace that consisted not just of neighborhoods, but leisure and work spaces as well.” (Stout, 13-14)  The importance of having this sacred space and others like it is vital for not only the Nigerian migrant community, but for all.

An abundance of literature has been written by and about the Nigerian community in Ireland.  Melatu Uche Okoire, a Nigerian woman who migrated to Ireland in 2006, wrote a novel titled This Hostel Life (2018).  The book focuses on stories about the hidden lives of migrant women in Ireland, discussing all of their trials and tribulations that take place.  Another example is Andrew Nugent’s crime novel The Second Burial (2006), which is about a young African man who was attacked and left for dead in the Dublin mountains.

Works Cited

Book Reviews

Article Reviews

Review by Alyvia Benson 

Hierarchy in Ireland 

An article titled, “Whiteness and Racism: Examining the Racial Order in Ireland” written by Ebun Joseph, shows the racial order in Ireland and how it impacts the Nigerian immigrants in their socioeconomic status in life. Throughout this article, Joseph examines a study of answers from thirty-two immigrants from Spanish, Polish, and Nigerian backgrounds. He then began to look at the racial order disadvantages that Nigerian immigrants faced. The article goes in-depth about the “White over-Black ascendancy – in Ireland” (44). This is the dominant power that white people have over the black individuals in Ireland. This dominant power stems from the profession the individual has as well as the treatment of the individual by others like racism. To understand the migrant experience of racism in Ireland, the immigrants filled out a questionnaire on the economic inequality that they face and how they believe that they rank on a hierarchy of different races. Joseph’s findings showed that Nigerian migrants are bottom of the economic ladder while other migrants who are not black like the Spanish and Polish remain at the top. He says “study suggests that migrants are aware of the racial order in Ireland and their positioning within it” (60). Joseph additionally puts a significant emphasis on the hierarchy that Ireland has as it pertains to social class and race.  Race is a critical factor in socioeconomic outcomes as it pertains to Nigerian immigrants in Ireland. Joseph concluded that Nigerians were “overrepresented at the bottom of the labour market”(65). In addition, he discusses the labor market as one that is color-coded with Nigerians at the very bottom and being high at risk of being a victim of racism. Joseph’s article presents one of the many explanations of the racial order and hierarchy that affect Nigerians in Ireland. 

Review by Kevin Lee

In Donald McClure’s article, “Second-Generation Nigerian Children’s Descriptions of Racism and Perceptions of Irish Identity. The purpose of his article was to explore three Irish born primary grade children of Nigerian immigrants, how they have experienced racism, and how they, “perceive being Irish in a predominantly White, but increasingly diverse, country.” (McClure). The study that McClure conducts tries to answer two questions: “(1) How do three primary-grade children of Nigerian immigrants in Ireland describe experience of racism in school and the local community? (2) How do the three primary-grade children of Nigerian immigrants’ descriptions of racism influence their perceptions of being Irish?” (McClure) In studies that McClure cited in his article, children from the UK and United States found that people thought of one’s birthplace as an indicator of national identity. The three participants, Jacob, Bella, and Victor were in 5th and 6th grade in this study. In her discussion with McClure, Bella found that her White peers were nice to her, but there were acts of racism and experiences of racism at the school playground. Jacob felt angry when he experienced racism in the classroom. He talks about a story where his class went through a six-week program on self-esteem. The teacher at the end was unable to say his name. After sitting down, he noticed the cultural difference between his name and that of Ireland’s mainstream culture. Jacob also talks about how people will ask him if he just came from Nigeria, instead of being accepted as a Irish born Nigerian. Finally, Victor talks about how he has gotten into fights at school because of racism directed at him. He talks about how he experiences racism a lot at school and is not a welcoming environment. Donald McClure’s article shows that even Nigerians who are born in Ireland are still treated as if they are immigrants, and we can see this through the three school students.

Review by Eddie Daou

The article that I chose to review was “Transnational migration, health and well-being: Nigerian parents in Ireland and the Netherlands” by Allen White. This article follows the families that were separated across continents as a result of migratory flows in a globalized world. These transnational families occur because one or both parents migrate internationally, which requires children to be raised in transnational child-raising arrangements, with the help of caregivers. This study examines the health and the emotional well-being of Nigerian migrant parents living in Ireland and the Netherlands based on a survey of around 300 migrant parents in each host country. Half of the sample in each country is living in one of the transnational families, with migrant parents who have at least one child in Nigeria, and the other half are not. This article adds to the existing literature on transnational families by including control groups (migrants who are not separated from their children) and comparing migrant parents from the same origin country who live in different host countries, allowing us to identify the significance of migratory context and legal regimes in shaping the emotional well-being and health of parents.

The results from the study indicated that the factors that drive both the health and emotional well-being of migrant parents are not only related to their separation from their children, but also to other variables such as legal status, socio-economic status, and the normative contexts. While Nigerian child fostering norms ease the influence of separation in both contexts, separate views of the Irish and the Netherlands sample show the more pronounced consequences of those large factors of change in the Irish samples, highlighting the differences in the migratory trajectories of Nigerian parents in Ireland and how they specifically are being affected.