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Polish-Irish Encounters in the Old and New Europe


Edited By Sabine Egger and John McDonagh

The cultural, political, social and economic interaction between Ireland and Poland has a long and complex history. This volume hopes to contribute to an emerging debate around the issues concerned by looking at alternative frameworks for understanding the relationship between the two countries. While the topic has attracted growing interest among researchers from various disciplines in recent years, this is the first book dedicated to exploring this cultural relationship in the context of Polish migration to Ireland. The essays in this collection tease out significant strands that connect the two countries, including literature, visual media, education, politics and history. Examining Polish-Irish relations in their wider historical and cultural context allows for new definitions of Irish, Polish and European identities in the New Europe. Especially important in view of the challenges and opportunities that a multicultural Ireland faces after the hard landing of the Celtic Tiger, this book provides new perspectives on a substantial and vibrant cross-cultural relationship.


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Part IV Polish Migrants or the New Irish? Concepts of Identity 229


Part IV Polish Migrants or the New Irish? Concepts of Identity Tomasz Kamusella Immigrants, Migrants or New Irish? Introduction This chapter seeks to of fer a new look at the Polish citizens who have arrived in Ireland in and after 2004. The traditional dichotomy of emigration/ immigration seems to be inappropriate for analysing this phenomenon which unfolded within the European Union. From the EU vantage point, these are not immigrants but internal migrants. On the other hand, thanks to the internet, cheap telecommunications and f lights, they will not quickly, if ever, lose their language and culture, as happens with classical immigrants. They constitute 5 per cent of the population of the Republic of Ireland, something that has not been changed by the financial crisis, although some commentators predicted Poles would leave Ireland en masse. Their seemingly permanent presence presents the State and Irish society with a new challenge. Not surprisingly then, the future of Ireland may well hinge on how well the needs and expectations of the Polish population will be met, and on whether the Irish government decides to develop a policy of multiculturalism in order to include such migrants from Poland and other new EU member states as the New Irish. Looking for a better future Following the 2004 enlargement that added ten new members to the European Union, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Sweden were the only existing member states that immediately opened their job markets to 232 Tomasz Kamusella citizens from the new member states....

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