Having returned to Ireland just two and a half years ago after 26 years overseas I can safely say generally the land I returned to has changed a lot from the land I grew up in. Except unexpectedly on quiet country roads from time to time I turn a bend on the road and say – there she is.
The population of Southern Ireland has grown from 3.5 million to just over 5 million in the past 20+ years. Much of that growth has been from immigration to Ireland, and more opportunities in Ireland so perhaps less of the young population have been inspired to leave. I first noticed this sometime in the last 10 years I was in Limerick. The thought came to me that it felt like Broadway in Brooklyn close to the Broadway/Lorimer Street Subway Train stop.
The population change is mainly in cities to date. This has had a lot of positive impact I would say, as hospitals I have visited and nursing homes particularly are staffed with at least one third of overseas staff and the same is true (this is just from my physical observation and not factual evidence) in hospitality and I am sure other industries.
Healthcare: What is interesting during this time is that, even though Ireland has an increased the population by 1.5 million over the last 20 years, and is planning to accommodate 200,000 Ukrainian refugees; and will be adding in an additional 1 million people by 2040. With all this increase in population, there has been minimal new hospital beds added and very few new schools added in populated areas and very few new houses built to accommodate the increase.
Ireland spent over 24.6 billion on the pandemic with and none of that money went on new hospital beds (as far as I am aware). Nor any increase in pay for the nursing population who took the brunt of this workload on their hands.
Housing: Due to EU directive and Irish government support, Ireland decided that we would accommodate 200,000 refugees from Ukraine in 2022. At the time this was announced, I searched on daft.ie an Irish property website and there were just 1,100 total apartments and houses available for rent in all of Ireland. About 300 of those were for student housing in Dublin. In the county of Clare where I live there are currently less than 15+/- houses available for rent in the entire county. Clare has taken in about 4,000 refugees in the past year. How do we reasonably accommodate this increase?
The immediate plan was to have people stay in hotels which is what initially happened. With the oncoming hotel season it seems like some hoteliers are looking to open back up to the tourism market. County Councils are approaching landowners directly to see if they are willing to sign 10+ year contracts to accommodate housing people who are incoming to Ireland. The offer is as far as I understand very lucrative for the landlord. Currently there are over 20,000 people in direct provision housing.
About 2 months ago, my row of houses changed overnight. I live in one of four – three-bedroom, three-bathroom houses in a row. The house to my immediate left and right both went from 3 residents in each to 10 in each. Each 3-bedroom house now has 3 couples and 3-4 children in each house. Prior to that it was typically 3 college students, or residents from the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Poland and other middle eastern countries.
It’s an interesting mix of emotions about the whole scenario. First, the homes are not built for 10 people so the children play outside a lot. Adults also standing around outside. What I am seeing is children and teenagers outside in the general area most of the day when school is not in service – that actually feels great. I rarely have seen Irish children playing in the same location ever. My lawn chairs go missing frequently as individual property does not seem to be a concept – even when I say you can use them, please bring them back later, they do not come back.
I am curious to see how summer looks when an additional 10 houses in the vicinity will have – 100? New residents as opposed to the usual 30. What will the children do to pass the 2-3 months of summer time, and the people who are not working…that I do not know. Time will tell.
I left my house last Sunday and there were about 14 people outside having various conversations within 20 feet of my front door to the left and right. They seem to be nice people, it’s just a lot of people, with a lot more planned.
Separate from this, and at the same time, the government has been opening up asylum centers and dispersing asylum seekers into smaller rural towns with no advance notice being given to the local general public. The towns of Lisdoonvarna (home to the matchmaker festival) Mullingar, Ballina, Shannon and a few others come to mind.
I am going to speak to Shannon here as it is closest to me, but this is a mirror situation across the country. For Shannon, the initial concern is that 300 asylum seekers – (in this instance anticipated to be men in their 20’s to 30’s from war torn countries other than Ukraine) would be housed in a single industrial building in the middle of an industrial estate. What are they supposed to do with their time and energy housed in the middle of an industrial estate and how would they even be able to find local work? They will not have transportation. How exactly is this supposed to work?
The residents in Shannon have asked that their concerns about lack of support facilities be addressed. A few years back I was applying for secondary schools in Shannon – I was listed at #147 on the waitlist with a timely application. We did not get in to the school Shannon schools, they were full. I had to travel to a different city and apply to a semi-private school to get secondary education for my child, as 9 other local secondary schools we applied to were also full in that city. More recently in a small local free paper, residents are now complaining of increased disturbances in the town and a lack of sufficient local Garda/police to answer calls to assist.
In Ireland there are at least 700 homeless asylum seekers at the moment and possibly more. The government is likely to be having to pay out large sums of money legally to the individuals for the failure to provide homes. Proposed centers and centers that opened without notification in towns like Mullingar met with local opposition in the form of protests.
This protest action then has the government proposing a law that you cannot protest outside a private residence and you need to travel to Dublin if you choose to protest in front of the Dail (Government). This is a 4-hour drive from parts of remote Ireland and is closed on the weekend. This does not work for those who work and may want to object to the population of the town switching overnight. If you are protesting the overnight changing of the population of the town or village where you live – will that be considered hateful? Read below about the impending Hate Speech Bill which would probably deem this so.
Ireland is a very kind nation in general, people are generally reasonable and kind hearted towards foreigners if not themselves. There is also an determination in their kindness as most believe they know what is right to do. So there is great conflict in saying no to someone in need and this is without a doubt taken advantage of through the Government’s ties to the EU purse and puppet strings and beyond.
At this time in Ireland there are some other concerning trends which look kind on the surface but we should also look at what is the worst that can happen with this as the people holding the strings are not the people of Ireland but from other places far far away.
Free Speech: First is the free speech act “Ireland is about to pass one of the most radical hate speech bills yet. Merely possessing “hateful” material on your devices is enough to face prison time. Not only that, but the burden of proof is shifted to the accused, who is expected to prove they didn’t intend to use the material to “spread hate”. This clause is so radical that even the Trotskyist People Before Profit opposed it as a flagrant violation of civil liberties.” Find that here
Private Property Ownership: Another one which is very alarming I would say is a proposed amendment again to the Thirty Ninth regarding the ownership of private property. This bill was proposed in 2020 and was not successful but my understanding is that it is doing the rounds again as I have received a few videos about it from concerned overseas friends.
“Our Constitution contains an overt protection of the right to private property, while making no mention of a right to housing. In our Constitution, Article 43 protects private property and prevents the State from abolishing the right to private ownership or the right to transfer property. Article 43 recognizes that the right to private property must be regulated in the interests of social justice and permits limits on the right in the interests of the common good. A right to housing is not mentioned anywhere nor is there any guidance in the text of the Constitution on how to balance the right to private property with the requirements of the common good.” “Let us get it clear in the Constitution that people would have a right to housing and that this is under the definition of the common good; this common good of the right to housing should override protection of private property, particularly when we are talking about the private property of landlords, vulture funds and others who seem to think their wealth is more important than the right to secure and dignified housing for ordinary people.”Find Bill Here
All that sounds fine and good in intention – but who determines what is categorized as “common good.” Let’s say I have a second home that I use to earn additional income – as a landlord, that statement above would include that and where does it end…Irish people fought long and hard to have property rights less than 100 years later. here is the discussion of property rights being dissolved. I do not know of any other country where this is even the case. Considering the Project Ireland 2040 agenda to increase the population of Ireland by another 1 million people.
Population change over the ages
Historically the population of Ireland has changed going back millennia. The Lebor Gabála tells of Ireland being settled six times by six groups of people: the people of Cessair, the people of Partholón, the people of Nemed, the Fir Bolg, the Tuatha Dé Danann the Sidhe (pronounced “shee”) along with the the Druids, and the Milesians (who were the Gaels/Celts). Celt is the broader term that includes Gaels, along with other groups currently found in Wales, France, and Spain and formerly found all over Europe and The Middle East. They were the last main settling group around 300BC.
The Romans and Anglo-Saxons gave a wide berth to Ireland. Ireland faced brutal invasions more than a few times in the 7th century A.D. The Vikings were the first to invade Ireland during that time. They remained there for two centuries in a row, destroying a lot of the Irish culture. The Vikings actually diminished manuscripts, monasteries, and more cultural elements. On the other hand, they were the ones who founded two major cities in Ireland, Belfast, and Dublin. When the Vikings they departed the Celts lived in somewhat peace and prosperity until 1160. The Celtic culture, has been surviving in Ireland for over 2500 years now.
On some level I feel that all the people coming to Ireland now have a spiritual connection to the land through these combined past histories. As such I am somewhat optimistic that the proposed changes can land well and the culture can remain intact “if” it is taken care of in the process of integration. I am concerned at the lack of planning through. It looks to me that the government may be considering usurping some property rights to accommodate their promises – this I have issue with.
The Celts were master farmers and understood seafaring and agriculture. To the Druids, trees were sacred.
Agriculture: Two other concerning trends is the discouragement of farms and small farms in a largely agricultural country with rich soil. The ownership of cows and other livestock is being discouraged in place of solar farms so people can have more devices plugged in while they sit at home; Encouraged to eat less beef and dairy, in the midst of a purported impeding global food shortage…
Forestry: The Government is also selling off large tracts of forest land to international funds and is using Irish taxpayer funds to do it – that is €2.1 billion of Irish taxpayers’ money paid in forestry grants and premiums to investment funds to purchase 100,000ha of our sovereign Irish farmland to establish forests. The Irish taxpayer will be paying for the sale of rural Ireland to investment funds.
Fishing: Fishermen are being paid to decommission their boats – literally insisting that they cut them up perfect expensive operating boats and take them off the sea – not send them to Africa or some other developing nation where they can be reused. How is this good for us? What is green about this? What about smart recycling??? Can someone please explain this to me? I do not get it. It makes no sense to me from an on the ground perspective at least today Sunday April 30th. I have dedicated a few brain cells to the project.
Finally, there are some interesting organizations forming for the voice of farmers as most of the Non Profits in Ireland are actually government funded and subsidized. What this means is that non-profit or ngo’s (non governmental organizations) in Ireland are really governmental funded/sponsored organizations, but just not official government organizations. One of these interesting new groups is the Irish Farmers Alliance and a great media group is Gript.ie. The Irish Farmers Alliance was formed to protect the interests of farmers and farming communities where other NGO’s are failing to do so.
I have always been grateful when looking out at the Wild Atlantic, thinking “well at least they cannot tame the sea.” However at this time, most of the west and south coast of Ireland has been scoped for offshore wind farms to aid Germany in her green bid. This, I pray, does not come to pass. Offshore wind changes the ecosystem; the base of the windmills become platforms for invasive species and the bases or the vibration from them are disorienting for some of the larger mammals such as whales – a dire consequence for the insatiable desire for screen time, EV’s and data centers for mining new cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies.
My mother wonders why she does not hear this news? I explain to her that is because RTE – the Irish TV broadcaster is a government funded organization. People in Ireland pay a “TV license” this means if you have a TV you pay an annual fee. Most media outlets are not independent from the Government and most Irish people who have not lived overseas believe the local TV, major media outlets, and news press at face value. It would never occur to them that anyone would have less than their best interest at heart as they are kind hearted people who generally have everyones best interest at heart.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” Anais Nin.