Ireland and immigration

The same question of “How do you run a welfare state with open borders?” that Milton Friedman answered with “You can’t” remains a live one in Ireland: “The Irish are losing control of Ireland once again?” is a video that an Irish friend sent me. Gemma O’Doherty, towards the end, asks what the point was of fighting the British colonizers if Ireland ultimately will be primarily occupied by non-Irish. She also points out that one third of “social housing” in Ireland is currently occupied by non-Irish. (Not sure how this can be true since, as in America, there is a long waiting list for a free house (yet folks say that free housing is a basic human right! But if it is actually a right, why is there a waiting list? If it is not a right, why do some people get a free house?)).

Ireland is far more hostile to immigrants and asylum-seekers than the U.S. Voters eliminated birthright citizenship in 2004 with a constitutional amendment. Asylum-seekers are dumped into cramped apartments, forbidden to work, and forgotten about (except by Amnesty International, which criticizes Ireland for this). The Irish with whom I spoke thought this was brutal, but effective. “Nobody is coming here to claim asylum anymore.”

During a May/June trip to Ireland, employers and developers of rental property were the most positive regarding the merits of immigration, praising the work ethic of Eastern Europeans, for example, and noting which neighborhoods in Dublin were now primarily occupied by (rent-paying) Pakistanis.

Folks who were not able to make money as a result of immigration and population growth were less sanguine. They missed the cohesion of a society in which they could find common ground for a conversation with anyone anywhere in the country. A retired police officer sounded unhappy that pedestrian streets now had to be protected from vehicular mass murder, a requirement that he attributed to the decision to allow Muslims to emigrate to Ireland.

The places in Ireland where an immigrant might settle, i.e., the cities with jobs, are jam-packed already. Traffic in Dublin and on the surrounding highways slows to a crawl in mid-afternoon. Commuter trains are standing-room-only during weekday morning and evenings. There is no realistic Chinese-style plan to add a subway system. Here’s the situation close to 9:00 am on a weekday, when people should already be at work:

Housing is not affordable for median-income earners (see “Dublin’s Housing Crisis Reaches a Boiling Point”: “The city’s average rent as of March was up to €1,875 ($2,176) a month. This is a large amount for anyone on the Irish average monthly wage of €3,181 ($3,692) and completely impossible for anyone paid anything close to the minimum hourly wage of €9.25 ($10.74).”) As in the U.S., the government engages in every possible scheme to fight the result of Econ 101 supply and demand curves. Developers of new buildings have to give apartments to central planners for them to allocate. Housing bureaucrats conceive grand plans for “social housing,” never imagining that demand for guaranteed free housing could outstrip supply (as in the U.S., the best way to get hold of a “social housing” unit is to have a child and refrain from working).

It is unclear what it would mean to apply a fashionable American politician’s open borders policy to Ireland. The country is home to roughly 5 million people. If 1 out of every 1,000 people currently living somewhere else decided that it would be nice to move to Ireland, that would be 7.6 million immigrants (from a baseline of 7.6 billion) and the country would no longer be “Irish”.

The debate is pretty much the same as in the U.S., but with all of the numbers scaled down. People who want to exclude 98 percent of would-be migrants claim the moral high ground by contrast with those who want to exclude 99 percent. Nobody who expresses love and concern for migrants actually wants to allow everyone in, much less shelter any of them in his or her own home. The country’s welfare state offers citizens the ability to refrain from work for an entire lifetime and, indeed, for multiple generations. People don’t want immigrants to come in and use the system as designed, but they have signed high-toned international agreements promising not to discriminate when ladling out the welfare.


  • “Migration in Ireland a huge issue but what we need’s a solution” (IrishCentral), concluding with “As the taoiseach said, the ultimate answer lies in improving the countries migrants are coming from, whether that’s in Africa or South America.” (i.e., Ireland now has to figure out how to make Africa and South America prosperous on a per-capita basis!)
  • “Huge scale of immigration is making our housing crisis worse” (Irish Independent)
  • “In Ireland, Bid to Restore Birthright Citizenship Gains Ground” (nytimes): “The government’s opposition is based on the special relationship between Ireland and Northern Ireland, said a spokesman for the Department of Justice and Equality, which has responsibility for immigration matters. Although Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, its people are legally entitled to both British and Irish citizenship. The Irish government fears that people living illegally in Britain could move to Northern Ireland, give birth to a child there and obtain Irish citizenship for their child after living there for three years. The parents could then use the child’s citizenship to obtain residency anywhere in Ireland or the United Kingdom which, though separate countries, confer extensive mutual residency and travel rights on each other’s citizens.”

22 thoughts on “Ireland and immigration

  1. She also points out that one third of “social housing” in Ireland is currently occupied by non-Irish.

    A good question is whether this has something to with those naturalization laws. Is something preventing these people from becoming Irish?

    Also, the Wikipedia page for this woman indicates that she buys into a lot of conspiracy theories, including some of the most popular among American cranks and bigots, such as things have to do with false flags, George Soros, other Jewish people, and chemtrails. Though, the hatred of free masons is probably pretty rare in the USA.

    Finally, in the case of the police officer worried about Muslim “vehicular mass murder”, you’re once again relying upon an anecdote. I think that you’ve warned about that in the past. The number of pedestrian killed by drivers playing with their cell phones is likely to be many times higher than the number killed by such mass murderers.

    • @Vince,

      Let us put aside the background of this woman and what she belies in. Let us also put aside this Ireland story or what the Irish want. Now, what’s one of the responsibility of a government? It is to see that the people and the country it is serving is prosperous. To do so, it will need to look after its citizens. Just like we have laws and regulation to make sure the food you and I buy, the cars you and I drive, the home you and I live in is safe all around, our government must also make sure that those who come to or country will do no harm to the country. This means anyone who is coming to the USA or Ireland, must meet standards that the government itself, for the people, has set — otherwise what’s the point of having regulations?

      I’m an immigrant and I welcome immigrant, but I want to make sure they have gone through the process and want to make sure they are the best and want to make sure they will integrate into my country so that we, as a county, preserve our way of life and prosper together. After all, you and I are paying considerable amount of taxes (Americans are one of the most overworked people in he world). Put another way, what’s the point of have FDA when the food that is being imported to the USA to be placed on our plates is not going to go through the FDA process? Why not simply abolish the FDA?

      If you can’t or won’t get any of this, than I don’t know how anyone can convince you that an open boarder is a disaster to ANY country.

    • George,

      There’s a world of difference between concentration camps for immigrants and completely open borders.

      Completely open borders is not actually something people are advocating. A sane, humane immigration system is somewhere in the middle.

    • In some countries, migrants join the housing queue at the head, not the tail. Perhaps this is the case in Ireland too?

    • Finally, in the case of the police officer worried about Muslim “vehicular mass murder”, you’re once again relying upon an anecdote. I think that you’ve warned about that in the past. The number of pedestrian killed by drivers playing with their cell phones is likely to be many times higher than the number killed by such mass murderers.

      The heartless monster Vince at last reveals itself. Remind me to thank Trump for fixing that, at least.

    • @OpenBordersStrawman,

      What we have at our southern boarders is a far cry from a concentration camp. In fact, it is not much different from how it used to be when president Obama was running the country. Many of those cages you keep seeing on the news and family separations, et. al. existed at Obama’s presidency too. In fact president Obama deported more illegal aliens than president Trump.

      So yes, a sane, humane immigration system is somewhere in the middle, and that’s what our laws are. However, we cannot be there if the media isn’t doing its job fairly to deliver “a fair and balance” _news_ reporting vs. delivering one side _stories_. And yes, president Trump isn’t helping here — he is a straight shooter with a big mount. If he was a “smooth talker”, non of this would have been on the front page.

    • @ OpenBordersStrawman

      Undocumented immigrants in current holding facilities are said to be free to leave the United States any time, unlike Jewish people forcibly taken to concentration camps to be killed. So there is simply no comparison.

    • I’ve been told that the El Paso detention center is connected to a gas line. that does not look residential. Is Trump building gas chambers for undocumented children? Save the children!

  2. @OpenBordersStrawman: We have no Democrat presidential candidates who advocate sensible limits on immigration. They are all either for open borders, or unwilling to explain how their policy would differ from open borders.

    • That Elizabeth Warren essay favors open borders. She suggests a long list of changes, all of which are intended to let far more immigrants in. Nowhere does she propose any meaningful limits on immigration.

    • I read the scalding criticism of Trump’s latest misdeeds by Hillary Clinton (they were truly horrible, whatever they were). I am so impressed by her uncompromising, outspoken, and insightful take on Trump!

      I am finally convinced now that I should vote for her! Moreover, I do believe that every honest democrat should vote for Hillary in 2020!

  3. The Democrats are imitating other “leftist” parties around the world. Voter importation, plain and simple.

  4. I went to a shopping mall last Sunday. The weather was hot and muggy, I did a lot of shopping, and I was very thirsty after several hours chasing better deals. What was absolutely shocking to me… I had to drink from a toilet, just like an asylum seeker!!!

    How inhumane was that? A water fountain was next to the restroom, and it was connected to the same water pipe as the toilet flush. I am demanding compensation from the Nazis in the Trump administration!!! just like Jews did during the Holocaust.

  5. A buddy of mine has returned from Venezuela. He liked it there a lot! The weather was warm, the food was good, the service was cheap, the girls were cheerful. They must have a lot of undocumented folks out there: everyone seems to speak Spanish at all times. His only problem was not being able to buy a toothbrush.

    So he went to the police station and explained that the toothbrush was an absolute necessity, but he was not issued one when entering Venezuela. He was asked why he hadn’t packed one back in the US and whether his entry was legal. He reassured them that every person was legal and the toothbrushes were too expensive in the US. And there he was: deported to Cuba! And they even suggested he should get a free health check while in Cuba.

    Those bastard concealed Trump supporters! Trump is a white supremacist!

  6. I asked my senator why they cannot just impeach Trump once and for all. He suggested that was quite challenging as Trump turned out to be such a racist and a bully. For instance, Trump badmouthed a noble congresswoman who had bravely called him a motherf***er in public. And guess what Trump did to her? do you know???

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