Index

Ireland

Immigrant labor



But I'm an immigrant

"No you're not"


I lived in the Republic of Ireland for most of a decade, between 2001 and 2011 except for a year-and-a-half in the Netherlands.

The Irish tended to complain about immigrants in my company without irony.

I'm American — I was an immigrant.

A butcher in Kilkenny drew me into conversation about work, employment, social welfare, immigrants and asylum seekers. He had to stick in his piece against immigration, and he did so in the same way that rednecks do everywhere — as if I would agree.

Once an acquaintance, a Dubliner, was giving out about all of the new foreigners in the country. I told him "but I'm a foreigner." He said "no you're not."

I was told the same thing in Kilkenny on the street one evening. It was after the 2004 accession of Poland into the EU and the concommitant influx of people from that fellow-Catholic land. Some affable fellow, a friend of somebody I was with, mentioned "all these immigrants."

I said "I'm an immigrant."

"No you're not," he said — dismissing the matter. Most Irish did so reflexively and without words.