Irish nation understands, welcomes migrants
The 39th Session of “Knowing Nations” at PSF hosted Daniel Kelly from Ireland on December 3. MSc graduate of Sustainable Management from Uppsala University and BA of Business and Law from Dublin Institute of Technology, Mr. Kelly had worked with various CSOs and media in Ireland.
Introduction of his presentation was dedicated to spectacular sites of his country and its location, the weather, the population, and its demographic features underlining that the country has become more diversified in recent years despite the fact that it remains a Roman Catholic nation.
“The white color of Ireland flag represents peace between green as people that wants to be part of the Irish identity and orange as people who are pro the British identity” he highlighted.
Talking on cultural aspects, he first named Gaelic football and Hurling as national sports of Ireland. Noting English as the predominant language in his country, Mr. Kelly emphasized “to preserve and keep the Irish as the first language alive, we learn it from age 4 or 5 until the university.” On Irish art, he referred to Book of Kells as the national treasury of Ireland, dating back to 9th century; “we are also famous as being land of saints and scholars because of being a very catholic country.” Coming to gastronomy, he said, “we are known as potato nation”.
Moving to politics and with an overview of the conflict in Northern Ireland between protestant unionists and catholic nationalists, he referred to the difficult times between 1960s and 1990s with significant casualties on both sides leading to Good Friday Agreement; “today there is also wars between catholic and protestant communities; you can see a lot of links and solidarity murals with people of Palestine and Gaza in catholic communities and with Israeli people in protestant communities.”
Mr. Kelly then draw the attentions to peace NGOs in Ireland, naming three as examples: Abhaile Arís (meaning Home Again), The Institute for Conflict Research, and finally Co-operation Ireland, and briefly introducing them.
He continued by addressing Sustainable Development Goals and the extent to which they are addressed in his country; “Ireland is, by global and EU standards a quite peaceful and safe country and we are a neutral country; Ireland’s approach to sustaining peace and international security is anchored in the values set out in the Irish Constitution of the ‘ideal of peace and friendly cooperation amongst nations founded on international justice and morality’.”
On recent concerns of Irish nation he pointed to the “possibility of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland meaning police checks and military personnel along the border resulting in rising tensions; Brexit also is a concern for Irish people.”
When asked whether racism exist in Ireland, he noted the history of his nation as a migrant nation; “Irish people historically have been migrating to different places like America, England and other countries and they understand how difficult it can be; They have seen a lot of racism toward Irish people so I believe we are quite welcoming as a result of that and also we don’t have large right-wing parties unlike rising nationalism in other parts of Europe.”