An Ireland of firsts

Moving swiftly into the 21st century; that’s our modern Ireland.

In 1990 Ireland elected her first female president.

When I visited Ireland in 1996 with a dark-skinned Indian friend of mine he was the subject of blatant, but friendly, curiosity on the streets of Dublin. Even then, the diversity of this country was more religious than ethnic. Today, there are hordes of international immigrants crowding to Ireland’s prosperous shores. Even here in the midland countryside just about every village has an Asian restaurant of some description and it’s not unusual, if not downright normal, to see a dark face when walking the streets.

There has been some natural resistance to this growing diversity – even in the throes of prosperity, the hungry, ambitious worker from a poorer nations can spark suspicious bigotry in the native heart just discovering financial stability. The Irish have had to fight so hard to hold onto their identity over the centuries there may be a endemic suspicion of difference.

Be that as it may, I’m proud to say that Ireland’s first black mayor was elected in Portlaoise. Rotimi Adebari took office this week after moving to Ireland 7 years ago to escape religious persecution in his native Nigeria. Fair play to him and the people of Portlaoise.

Here is an article about it: read here.