This article addresses the puzzle of why Ireland has proved so open to immigration. It compares responses to immigrants in the Republic of Ireland during the Celtic Tiger era and during the post-2008 economic crisis and finds no evidence of a political backlash during the latter period even though opinion polls suggest that opposition to immigration had increased and other evidence suggested that there had been an increase in racist incidents within Irish society. Nor did the resumption of large-scale emigration trigger political hostility to immigrants. The outcome of the 2004 Referendum on Citizenship, which removed a constitutional right to Irish citizenship to the Irish-born children of immigrants, suggested that that nationalism still matters hugely and a latent tendency towards ethnic chauvinism amongst the host population. Yet, a decade after the 2004 Referendum it looked as if the old mono-ethnic sense conception of the Irish nation had been disrupted, at least a little bit.
Source: Irish Studies Review, first published online: 17 Nov 2015.