Ireland’s own history of emigration showed us that it can take some time for migrants to integrate into new communities. Barriers included prejudice, lack of knowledge of the local systems and poor social support networks.
Language is often a significant obstacle for migrants in Ireland. However, there is huge demand for English language classes among the migrant community nationwide and in Limerick.
Despite the abundance of English language providers in the city, the supply simply cannot meet the demand. Migrants in Limerick were asked about their English language abilities in the 2011 Census, with 80% claiming to speak English well or very well and only 4% had no English at all.
In Limerick, the migrant population is largely concentrated in the city centre, only about 5% of the population of the suburbs is of a migrant background. However, migrants are beginning to move out of the city centre to the suburbs, in order to settle and have families, and are becoming more involved in suburban local groups and activities, such as Tidy Towns and Gaelic games.
From 2008 to 2013, over 80,000 people nationwide were granted Irish citizenship. Becoming an Irish citizen through naturalisation is not a decision that is taken lightly.
Eligibility for citizenship requires being resident in Ireland for 5 years, up to €1125 in fees, proof of the means to support oneself and taking an Oath of Fidelity to Ireland.
Integration is a two-way process, requiring an effort to be made on the part of the migrant as well as the host community in order for strong community relations to be formed. Extending a positive welcome to migrants can go a long way in improving relations between migrants and native populations.