Speaking in the Seanad today (Tuesday) Fine Gael Senator, Neale Richmond, has proposed the establishment of a specific day to celebrate Ireland’s immigrant communities.
“Going by the last census, immigrants represent 20% of our population, making a positive impact on Ireland economically and socially.
“As a people with a tradition of migration, we in Ireland know what it is to be an immigrant in a new land in times of difficulty as well as prosperity.
“Initiatives like the citizenship ceremonies for people taking Irish citizenship have been a fantastic success. And we are making great strides to deepen our bonds with our diaspora community, who are well represented in the Seanad by Senator Billy Lawless. But there is more we can do to celebrate our immigrant population.
“A poll conducted by the Economist shows that Ireland has the third most positive response to immigrants in the EU, with just over 80% of Irish people answering their question around being comfortable with immigrants positively. While this is encouraging, we can always strive to be better.
“Ireland is the land of a hundred thousand welcomes. At a time when some in Europe and beyond are turning their backs on immigrants, we should be celebrating them even more, and showing leadership to our European colleagues. A special day to recognise our immigrant communities would be a further positive step and I am asking the Government to examine my proposal.”