- Kilkenny County Council
In 1840’s 780 000 of Irish emigrated to the United States of America, many others to Great Britain or Australia and in 1850’s another million of Irish sons and daughters left their country to make a living abroad.
Between 1850 and 1930 Irish emigrants to USA reached 4 million in total, however, after successful economic reforms which took place in mid 1980 Ireland started its fast economic growth at the beginning of 1990 and since 1st May 2004 when ten new countries joined the European Union a Great Immigration Wave flooded Ireland.
Immigrants from Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine and also from many Asian and African countries are important part of Irish society.
On the basis of the Central Statistical Office (CSO) data, between 2002 and 2007, 920 000 applications were submitted to get a PPS number – 390 000 by Polish (120 000 relocated from Great Britain to Republic of Ireland) and 530 000 from other countries immigrants. As a matter of fact, each and every migration movement works both ways and many foreigners leave Ireland.
According to CSO at the end of 2007 there was 423 000 immigrants employed in Ireland which was nearly 10% of the Green Island’s society. Immigrants rent over 100 000 houses and flats, allot few billion euros as an income tax and even more as VAT included in almost all products or services. 95% of immigrants do the least paid, hardest and dirtiest kinds of jobs. But that is life of an immigrant in every country.
A Good Immigrant is a person between 20 and 30 years of age, not relying on the Social Welfare Benefit, paying all taxes and being an essential part of the economy circulation. It is worth reminding that young people rarely use Irish health system. As in every flock, there can be found a black sheep among immigrants also. That is why a good shepherd is needed (good system) so as to separate the wheat from the chaff. An immigrant is usually a good, healthy man, who decides to leave his own country to find better living conditions which means he is courageous, resourceful and ingenious.
Taking into consideration the population decline taking place in Western European countries but also and more often in Eastern European ones the injection of nearly half million immigrants may turn out to be essential, however, there should be found by the government some innovative methods to deepen a social integration with Irish society. It is a fact that learning a foreign language or becoming familiar with countries’ history and culture or adjusting to its norms, tradition and customs is a duty of a Good Immigrant. How much easier, however, would it be to communicate if natives wanted to get to know basic information about countries where their neighbours come from?
A worth knowing fact and argument for building ‘The Good Immigrant’ monument is that such a project hasn't been undertaken anywhere in the world before while migration is a mass phenomenon having global dimensions.
The main element of the enterprise is a word as ‘in the beginning there was the word....’ ‘The Word’ then is:
‘...and if you knew me
And if you could understand me
Then you would respect me...’
And the expected response will be reflection. Reflection of every good man.
Another argument for proceeding with the whole project is deepening recession because of tension with an ethnic background being the recesion's result.
After informing mass media in Ireland, Poland as well as in other countries the project will live its own life being the same way a nationwide advertisement for Kilkenny city itself and it can bring forth in the future discussion on how to avoid the risk of intolerance.
Yes, dear counsellors of city and county Kilkenny, now is a time to test ourselves and show that we can cooperate.
We the immigrant society of Kilkenny City and County Kilkenny turn to the local authorities for planning permission and financial help in building ‘The Good Immigrant’ monument.
a) Planning permission and taking the enterprise under the honourable patronage.
b) Outlining the building site and obtaining all necessary permits.
c) Covering necessary financial expenses concerning the undertaking and its promotion now and in the future.
d) Permit to collect funds partially covering the expenses of the undertaking.
e) Organising the contest with the aim of designing and the workmanship of the monument.
The Build ‘The Good Immigrant’ monument petition to Kilkenny County Council was written by Kamila and is in the category Culture at GoPetition.