In a lecture titled “Globalizing Ireland: Emigration and Immigration, 1980-2020,” sponsored by the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, Mary P. Corcoran of Maynooth University discussed migration patterns in and out of Ireland over the last 40 years.
Corcoran began by talking about a Latvian foreman whom she met shortly after the European Union had undergone its first major enlargement into Eastern Europe in 2004.
Noting that these countries had just entered the European Union, and the associated free-travel area, Corcoran said the foreman “wanted to go to Germany, but Ireland was one of the only countries that would let him in.”
The influx of immigrants that included the foreman was tied to the so-called Celtic Tiger, an Irish economic boom that took place in the early 2000s, Corcoran said.
Corcoran also discussed Ireland’s 2015 referendum on the legalization of same-sex marriage, the first of its kind in the world.
“Thousands of Irish expats came home to participate,” she said, noting that many of these people wanted to be part of a momentous national decision.
Originally published by The Observer at ndsmcobserver.com on February 26, 2017.