Diaspora Communities in the Republic of Ireland: A Part of the Community, or Apart from the Community?

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Kanj, Nada
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University of Malta; DiploFoundation
This thesis examines whether support efforts are made for the communities that comprise some of the largest diasporas in Ireland, namely Indian, Lithuanian, and Nigerian communities, by their respective Embassies. The aim of this research is to show that efforts made by embassies and network associations help immensely in the positive integration and acculturation of immigrants into Irish society. On the other hand, it is considered that the lack of positive integrative efforts leads to marginalisation and negative experiences for immigrants. The premise for embassies getting involved in supporting immigrant communities is based on the work of Rana (2011) who proposes that consular activities should include taking responsibility for diaspora communities in host countries. While acknowledging that this is a relatively new concept with minimal research, the knowledge gained throughout this research will result in ideas and recommendations, which will hopefully be useful for embassies and host governments, and consequently add to the experience and literature on consular involvement with diasporas. Chapter 1 is an academic literature review, which identifies and explores the key terms of acculturation, integration and assimilation, which will be used to inform the analysis of immigrant and embassy research in chapter 4. Chapter 2 gives an overview of Ireland, its demography and immigration regulations. It explores the challenges Ireland faces and its development of laws and policies to deal with its recent influx of immigrants from all over the world. Ireland as a relatively late entrant into hosting diasporas has had the opportunities to avoid the mistakes made in immigration policy of its larger neighbours in Europe and could act as an exemplar for other small countries. Chapter 3 studies the situation of the three communities, Indian, Nigerian and Lithuanian in Ireland. Chapter 4 presents the research methodology adopted. Qualitative research, enabling an in-depth study of the actual experience of first and second-generation immigrants to Ireland was chosen. The embassies representing these communities were researched and interviewed to establish the policies on serving their immigrant communities in Ireland. Indian, Nigerian and Lithuanian respondents were interviewed.Chapter 5 presents the findings and analysis of the situation of Indian, Nigerian and Lithuanian immigrants in Ireland and their respective embassies. Chapter 6 presents conclusions and recommendations based on this data and analysis.