As young people continue to leave Ireland in search of overseas work opportunities, many others are drawn to Ireland for similar reasons.
According to the 2022 Census results, the most common people coming to Ireland are Brazilians, Indians and Romanians.
While the topic of immigration has hardly hit the headlines this year and has sparked some controversial debates, those who have made Ireland their home are still focusing on the positives.
Sunil Ghai, a chef and restaurant owner from County Dublin, said he believed more people coming to Ireland for job offers could only be a good thing, and insisted the conversation around immigration was important. .
The 46-year-old, who has spent more than half his life in Ireland, said immigration was important in creating diversity, but also believed those arriving needed to “integrate” into Irish culture. .
“You have to learn about the culture,” he said. “I can’t say this is my boundary and I have to respect different cultures.”
Ireland’s Indian community has been steadily growing over the past few years. In fact, it was the largest group of non-Irish nationals to move here in 2021, with around 10,000 arriving.
Looking back on his arrival in Ireland 23 years ago, Guy said it wasn’t a big shock culturally, but he was surprised by the weather.
“You can see three seasons in 30 minutes,” he said, adding that the big decision Indians made in choosing Ireland was not just for economic prosperity but also for safety.
“People feel safe here,” he says. “It’s much safer than anywhere else.”
Despite concerns about the proliferation of anti-immigrant rhetoric, he said he had not encountered any bigotry but recognized that others might not be so lucky.
“No matter where you are, it’s always going to be that way,” he said of people being stereotyped.
The latest census reveals that more than half of people of Indian descent living in Ireland are aged between 25 and 44.
In addition to significant hiring in the hospitality industry, workers from India are also being drawn to jobs in the healthcare, technology, and banking sectors.
The number of Indian students studying at 3rd level is also increasing.
India’s Ambassador to Ireland, Akhilesh Mishra, said that Brexit had made Ireland a huge draw for students seeking a “high quality” university education.
He also said that Ireland’s continuing Indian heritage has increased Ireland’s profile and recognition in India, and that it is now seen globally as a “very diverse, pluralistic and inclusive society”. He said there was.
He said the Indian diaspora has grown significantly in the past few years, with an estimated 80,000 people currently living here.
In contrast, the number of Poles choosing to live in Ireland has declined. In 2022, the number of people decreased by 24% compared to the 2016 census, by approximately 29,000 people.
However, this community remains the largest group of non-Irish nationals.
Kate Koss, a Polish artist who has lived in Ireland for nearly 20 years, said she was asked, “Where are you from?” Frustratingly often.
She added that she changed her name from Katarzyna to Kate to help blend in, but that the accent kept her curious about her origins.
Still, she said her life has been rewarding, from her first gardening job to now having her own art gallery.
She came to County Wexford from a village near Krakow with friends after Poland joined the EU in 2004.
Shortly thereafter, she fell in love with Ireland’s nature and people and decided to settle there permanently.
At times, derogatory comments were made to her, such as “go back, go back to where you came from,” but she said that was a minority opinion and that she felt strongly part of the Gorey community. .
Her homeland is Ireland, but she has seen others return to Poland.
Krzysztof Kiedrowski, from the Irish-Polish Association, said Poland’s “booming” economy and low rents were motivating people to consider moving to their home country.
The Polish Embassy in Ireland confirmed that this has been happening for several years.
A spokesperson said Poles were emigrating from Ireland “with no immediate end in sight” due to the cost of living crisis.
He also noted that Poland’s welfare programs are supporting families and encouraging them to return home.
Noting the wealth of employment opportunities now available, Mr Kiedrowski said Poland was like Ireland in 2004 when he first returned home.
He added that they remain “very strongly Catholic, just like Ireland used to be.”
For the Polish community to stay and immerse themselves in Irish society, it also helps that there are many events and outlets that “keep our culture alive”, as well as shops selling local products. said.
Although the number of Poles living in Ireland has fallen to less than 100,000, Polish remains the most spoken foreign language.
Multilingualism is prevalent in general, with over 750,000 people speaking a language other than English or Irish at home, an increase of 23% since 2016.
Dorina Steele, a hairdresser from Moldova, said she enjoys hearing her native Romanian spoken every day in Blanchardstown, where she lives.
The mother of two said it was difficult adjusting to Irish life and the new language when she came to Ireland in 2014.
One in five people living in Dublin are non-Irish nationals.
Steele said that while she observes the contrast between Moldova and Ireland, she embraces being part of their diversity.
She said the main differences were “cooking, medicine, and less homework.”
She added that Irish people generally know little about Moldova, but are always willing to share information about Moldova.
“I have to explain that it is between Ukraine and Romania,” she said. “I am happy that the children are having a culture day at school and promoting different cultures.”
The Immigration Council of Ireland said investing in diversity was important.
Chief executive Brian Killoran said the phenomenon of immigration poses challenges, but said there were “voices that encourage people to fear immigration” and that “we are getting more out of Ireland than we actually are”. He also emphasized the importance of dismissing “the voices of people who paint a false narrative that the government is depriving the government of Japan.” give”.
He said immigration was supporting Ireland’s development in ways “unimaginable” in the past and warned that a forward-looking approach was “incalculably needed”.