Growing up in a multi-ethnic Ireland

Source: Irish Times

The grown-up children of immigrants talk skin-colour, college fees, sport and national identity in multiethnic Ireland

Twenty years ago Gretchen Fitzgerald from Goa wrote Repulsing Racism, an insightful essay about living in an overwhelmingly white Ireland with dark skin. “I was stared at, often to the point of rudeness,” she wrote of her college years. “My social relations with other students became limited and distorted.”

She questioned “whether I had the right to bring a child, whose cultural origins would be as complex as my own, into such an unthinking society.”

Today there are many Irish children with complex identities. From 1992 Ireland experienced rising levels of immigration. The last Irish census records that 12 per cent of the population was born outside the country, with the biggest groups being Polish and British. More than 100 nationalities now inhabit our towns, cities and villages.

The children of those migrants have have grown up in a changed Ireland. The Irish Times asked six of them to participate in a discussion this week about their experiences of growing up in multiethnic Ireland.

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