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Integration with our new Polish neighbours in Ireland

Frank 23 | 1,183  
30 Oct 2006 /  #1
Guys, I live in a small country town in N Ireland, population 14,000 roughly 60/40 religious split, Catholic/Protestant.

After 30 years of "troubles" things are sorta settling down. During this time around 3000 people lost their lives. If we put this in context for the UK as a complete country it would have meant 118,000 ( ie 10% of what they lost during the 2nd WW.) killed during a similar period ( In Poland.....equivalent to 76000 killed)

So you can see just how devastating this period was for such a small population.

Today they officially opened a "mixed" public housing scheme of just 20 houses...local catholics/protestants/travelling people/English and east Europeans.

This is the first scheme of its kind, the tenants have signed up to a "charter" agreeing not to act in a sectarian fashion.

In order to understand the type of nationalistic/facist statements made on this board at times, it does us no harm to put into context these sorts of primitive attitudes.

Different peoples don't always like to live together, they like to stay together in their own social groups for a whole variety of reasons. Can they integrate/will they integrate?

For schooling, 95% of children are still educated in one faith schools (effectively). And much to my surprise today the statistics for public housing were also given.

In N Ireland as a whole 90% of public housing is one religion or the other, and in Belfast (city of 600000) 97% of the public housing is either wholly Catholic or wholly Protestant!!!

So perhaps you can understand how local people react to "foreigners" coming to "their" country to take "their" jobs. The posts on this board made by a small number of posters reflect how things are percieved by some groups.

As always it takes a significant period of time for the locals to get used to new groups, to feel secure and not to react in a primitve reactionary fashion to percieved threats this instance 600000 Polish immagrants to the UK!!

Its a steep learning curve for everyone, I hope we can sort ourselves out here in N Ireland, and I hope our new Polish neighbours/friends can also integrate to the advantage of everyone.

As before, I can only wish all concerned, all the very best for the future!
30 Oct 2006 /  #2
Frank, I think i admire you :) ok I do. your post was well put.
30 Oct 2006 /  #3
Nicely put Frank. Getting the right immigrants could indeed help depolarise the catholic/protestant divide. That would be good for Ireland. The housing schemes you mention don't seem so unworkable. There are plenty of cath's/prod's who just want to get on being Irish. Drinking and singing! I'm sure the Poles could help there. :)
30 Oct 2006 /  #4
I had no idea that Ireland was still so split where religion was concerned....hopefully one day all will be well, its a beautful country
OP Frank 23 | 1,183  
30 Oct 2006 /  #5
People, thanks for your kind sentiments.

Its been a very complex, unrewarding experience for a huge number of people in N Ireland.

Attitudes are still entrenched in significant areas, much still need to be done.

Part of the problem in Belfast and some other towns has been that Polish (Catholics) have moved,( unwittingly) into Protestant areas, hence they have been less than welcome and are then victims of racsim/ important thing for Polish immigrants to note when coming to N Ireland!!

Today I met two Polish people, one a care worker in a nursing home, another a lady who may be working for us shortly. Both are intent on staying In Ireland and are educating their children here, so even after 1-2 years, Polish people are regarding Ireland as home.......great to see!
9 Jan 2007 /  #6
Frank I am currently writing a dissertation on the issue of Polish immigrants in Belfast and the difficulties with their integration. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind getting a few of them to fill out a few questionnaires for me as soon as possible. This would be much appreciated! If this is possible please e-mail me soon at janineohiggins@hotmail! Thank you!
OP Frank 23 | 1,183  
9 Jan 2007 /  #7
Janine, I don't live in Belfast sorry, perhaps best to contact the city hall in the city and they will put you in contact with the relevant group, all the best in your dissertation.
13 Feb 2007 /  #8
just try to type "polski belfast" in google searchengine. You will fin some adresses of polish forums. Next create a new topic "pisze prace o Polakach w Belfascie, ich sytuacji, problemach z integracja/asymilacja, szukam kontaktu" for examle ...and wait for responce.
dannyboy 18 | 248  
15 Feb 2007 /  #9
I had no idea that Ireland was still so split where religion was concerned....hopefully one day all will be well, its a beautful country

Only in the north, I don't know any religious people in the republic younger than 60
24 Mar 2007 /  #10
I Live in Dublin and I was recently told that the unofficial number of Poles in this country is 400,000. It was a Polish girl who told me this. I would like to find out about Polish people, in fact I've been learning a little of their language, and I am not a racist, but I have to say that they make no attempt to integrate or even to vaguely socialise with non-Poles. I think they lack common courtesies and I think they do not do anything to endear themselves to the people of this country.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,161  
24 Mar 2007 /  #11
I Live in Dublin and I was recently told that the unofficial number of Poles in this country is 400,000.

And that's good. We should forget about UK and concentrate on Ireland.
daffy 23 | 1,508  
24 Mar 2007 /  #12
We should forget about UK and concentrate on Ireland.

in a good way i trust G :)

last i heard it was nearer 200,000 in IRE but i wouldnt be surprised if it floated between 200 and 400K

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