It is well documented that during the past two decades Ireland has become increasingly diverse and has earned the right to be described as a multicultural society, with over 18% of people from migrant descent. Today, Ireland is a beautiful and rich mixture of backgrounds, faiths, skin tones, languages, and accents. However, this is not so evident, due to lack of representation and visibility at many levels in our society. Inherently, migrants bring additional values, perspectives and enterprise, however in order to actively participate in Irish society, we need visibility in all spheres of Irish life.
In 2016, 11.6% of the population of Ireland reported originating from 200 different countries. Additionally, a growing population of young Irish people have parents and grandparents of different nationalities. The 2016 Census reported 347,233 (15%) of the workforce in Ireland is from a migrant background.
We have an opportunity to create a culture and a society where all people feel they are welcome, they can participate and they belong— these needs are central to the human experience.
People from a migrant background are a permanent feature in Irish society and they want to participate. Those in positions of privilege and power can remove the barriers for migrants by designing targeted, effective interventions that support participation and integration. Removing these barriers will lead to a stronger, more diverse and ultimately more reflective society.