Recent waves of new immigration distinct from postcolonial-era migrations can be identified in many Western countries. More than 40 such “new immigrant” candidates contested the 2009 local government elections in the Republic of Ireland. This article draws on interviews with just under half of these and on official responses from each of the Republic’s five political parties to a study of “new immigrant” participation in Irish politics. It also draws on a specific locality case study of the border town of Dundalk where support for Sinn Féin, Ireland’s most distinctly ethno-nationalist political party, is relatively high. Our analysis of “new immigrant” candidate participation in Irish politics suggests that a number of factors influence responsiveness to these; this article focuses on the salience of theories of racialization, ethnic nepotism, and localism. In particular, the findings emphasize how local identities as manifested by immigrant candidates potentially mediate racial and ethnic barriers.
Source: Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Volume 16, Issue 3-4, 2010