Ireland is a diverse place - that’s for good
2018-12-01 14:01:45 -
Opinion
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By Finn Hoogensen

 

Since moving to Dublin to work for Metro Éireann, I’ve been analysing Ireland for its cultural and ethnic diversity. I was curious to see how people of different backgrounds live alongside each other in a city like Dublin.

From what I’ve seen living in the Irish capital, it is a very multicultural city. On my bus rides to and from work, it is common to hear a few different languages and accents being spoken. The same can be said while sitting outside a pub or café and listening as people walk by.

With all the people coming to Ireland from abroad for many reasons, Dublin is still figuring out how to deal with its crowded population. IN parts of the city, the lack of available affordable housing is forcing some people – mostly immigrants – to live on top of each other.

Not only is Dublin’s housing market crowded, but the city’s transportation system is struggling to accommodate the population. The National Transport Authority is looking at solutions to alleviate the congestion of cars, buses and trams on city streets in order to reduce commute times.

These issues are relevant to a discussion of multiculturalism because these factors contribute to the multitude of ethnicities and cultures interacting on a daily basis.

Dublin’s crowded conditions create opportunities for people of different backgrounds to consistently interact with each other. Though Ireland is very multicultural, it has some work to do. For example, when I’m shopping for groceries at the store, I will see Irish people shopping alongside people of other backgrounds. In everyday life, there isn’t much interaction beyond that.

The goal for Ireland should be to have more intercultural communication. It shouldn’t just be the responsibility of those new to this country to learn Irish culture. There should be an effort for people to mutually learn about all the different cultures around them. This would foster more of a respect between different ethnicities and build a stronger community. Whether people like it or not, Ireland is a diverse place, and that isn’t going to change. I do believe that Irish people are generally very open to diversity.

Most of the immigrants and people of ethnic minorities who I’ve interviewed for Metro Éireann have said they rarely face racism or discrimination. Irish people have an openness to foreign offerings, making further integration of different cultures very much possible.

The question going forward is to figure out how more ethnic and cultural integration will occur and in what areas of life it will take place. Regardless of how this will happen, to build a stronger society it is the role of everyone to be open to understanding the different people in the world around us.

 

Finn Hoogensen was an intern with Metro Éireann.

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