The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61622 Message #994813
Posted By: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
01-Aug-03 - 04:05 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: No Irish Need Apply
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'No Irish Need Apply'
When I commended Jensen's article to fellow-Irishmen and women (including American-Irish!), I saw it more as a useful corrective to our tendency to wallow in victimhood than a refutation of the existence of anti-Irish/anti-Catholic discrimination.
That sort of discrimination continued to be encountered even in Ireland itself long after independence: certain employers even in Dublin were known not to employ Catholics, and even in the Guinness brewery, revered as a "good employer" in the 19th-Century paternalistic tradition, while Catholics could get good jobs as craftsmen, secretaries and lower-middle management, it was not until well into the 1960s that they began to break the glass ceiling that kept them out of senior management jobs.
We wasted a half-century of independence under De Valera's misguided (anti-)economic policies and his picking over the bones of history. I have a hunch that exposure of young people to the more open, can-do enterprise climate of the US through the J4 visa programme and temporary emigration played a significant part in creating the enterprise culture which has helped Ireland to achieve such amazing economic success in the last decade.
I don't have the stats to prove it, but I think it is generally recognised that Irish emigrants prospered to a much greater extent in the US than in Britain. What is harder to prove is how many of the barriers were imposed by society and how many were in the minds of the emigrants themselves.
Unfortunately, now that the country is so prosperous that it is itself undergoing the novel experience of immigration, too many people seem to be subjecting the immigrants to the sort of hostility that we are so quick to condemn when we were its victims.