On the 16th of January, thejournal.ie published an article titled ‘FactCheck: Does this tweet show the decline of the ‘ethnic Irish’ population from 2040 onward?’
This article is worth analysing as a case study for two reasons.
The first is that it offers us a perfect example of the dishonestly and bad faith which characterises the majority of ‘fact-checking’ articles in mainstream publications.
From the beginning the author appears to mislead the reader. The title of the article relates to a specific tweet, however the subtitle reads: “It’s been claimed that Project Ireland 2040 will lead to a decline in Ireland’s native population – but is this true?”
Indeed the tweet appears to merely be a random response to a video by Canadian Youtuber Stefan Molyneux, yet the author tries to address both in the same context.
Immediately there is a divergence between the article’s title and its content.
Which claim is he trying to fact check?
As it turns out, the tweet itself is not credible. The map pictured actually shows the historical decline of the Irish language from 1800 to 1900, with the title being changed. Verdict: false. The Journal got that much right.
However, we shouldn’t let the author off the hook yet. The article deliberately tries to muddy the waters of refuting the tweet and refuting the claim of a decline in the native population. In fact, while the article is ostensibly about the tweet, it seems the goal was to discredit Molyneux’s video and criticism of the Ireland 2040 plan by associating them with the false claims of the tweet.
Under the subheading, ‘Will Ireland’s native population significantly reduce under Project 2040?’ the author spends a measly 76 words (~7% of the article) dealing with this claim. He writes:
“But nowhere does Project Ireland 2040 mention that this population growth will be achieved by ‘importing’ migrants to Ireland, from Africa or otherwise.
The words ‘migrant,’ ‘immigration,’ ‘overseas,’ and ‘Africa’ do not appear once in the Government’s executive summary of the plan.
The sole appearance of the word ‘foreign’ appears in a sentence describing one of the country’s recent economic policies: ‘Ireland has been outstandingly successful in attracting major foreign investment, generating high quality, large-scale employment.’”
This is true, on the surface. But Ireland currently has a total fertility rate (TFR) of 1.8 children per woman – which is below replacement. Therefore, if the expected increase of over a million people is not due to a natural population growth, the only other explanation is immigration.
The republic of Ireland’s population is approximately 17% non-native born. Assuming the ethnic Irish population stays stable and there is an influx of one million immigrants, the ethnic Irish percentage of the population would be lowered down to 67.8%.
While the Ireland 2040 plan may not directly deal with immigration, it reveals an underlying assumption among our policy makers that a massive and profound demographic transformation will happen in Ireland over the next twenty years.
The population replacement glimpsed in the 2040 plan may even be on the conservative side of estimations. Prof Ferdinand von Prondzynski of DCU predicted in 2005 that the Irish will be an ethnic minority in Ireland by 2050 while Danny McCoy, chief executive of Ibec (Irish Business and Employers Confederation) called for a population of 10 million on the island of Ireland by 2050.
The second reason for why this article is worth analysing, is the insight it gives into the mainstream’s views on population replacement.
Throughout the article ‘ethnic’ Irish is consistently used in scare quotes.
The Irish establishment and its left/liberal enforcers do support the decline of the native Irish population – but they don’t want people to understand what is going to happen, otherwise they wouldn’t produce articles trying to obfuscate the issue.
It seems clear that the goal of the article was for readers to scan through it and come to a conclusion along the lines of ‘there’s no decline in the ethnic Irish population, I read an article proving that false.’ In other words, its goal was to mislead readers.
I on the other hand, prefer to let the reader investigate all relevant sources for themselves.