Over the next two decades, the 26 counties are set to experience arguably the most drastic population explosion seen on this island in human history. Despite a nose-diving birth rate, legalised abortion, a generation locked out of family formation and tragic levels of emigration, government planners make no secret of preparing for an expected increase of one million souls living and working in this state by 2040. Indeed our business community as represented by IBEC is lobbying for substantially more, desiring an all Ireland population of ten million by 2050.
The driving factor for this envisioned surge is of course destined to be mass immigration, a fact still denied by the bright lights of contemporary Irish communism, but nevertheless is built into the economic model we have embraced since the latter years of the 20th century.
To keep the economic coalfire of neoliberalism going we are destined to import a million warm bodies minimum by the time a child born today celebrates their 21st birthday, far more than any sane political regime could feasibly allow. While our managerial class wax lyrically about the economic need for such an occurrence, anyone with a grounded sense of reality can foresee social chaos as a consequence of mass immigration on this scale.
With plummeting birth rates, emigration and deteriorating social structures around child rearing there is the clear and distinct possibility that the Irish may face ethnic minority status on home turf, a fact already warned of by demographers before. Indeed this isn’t the far flung future, but presently a living reality in many Midland towns and Dublin schools where the Irish have slipped into an ethnic minority, unannounced by an erstwhile media.
As of 2016 census figures, Ireland is already an outlier in the proportion of a foreign born population residing in the country, with a national average of 17.3% and Dublin herself recording 20.8% not including the estimated 40,000 illegal immigrants or those who simply don’t fill out the census form.
It is fast approaching crunch time with regards to the effects of mass immigration of this scale, with the shape of things to come potentially bearing fruit in a housing picket in the West Dublin suburb of Mulhuddart earlier this year.
Tensions arose in the area, arguably one of the most diverse in the capital at 40% foreign born, over allegations that non-nationals were being privileged in the local housing list over local individuals and families waiting longer. The result residents warned of was the effective breaking up of their community and the lengthening of the waiting list for an already stretched housing supply.
While the picket faded, it is perhaps the first few pebbles in a potential nativist landslide down the line. For years housing authorities have kept the percentage foreign of housing going to foreigners a secret, with rumours and allegorical evidence that Fingal County Council designates the majority of its housing to non-nationals.
Now with plans to fast-track failed asylum seekers into ‘own door’ accommodation on local housing lists per the recently released Day Report, and warnings from the Department of Housing of the effect this would have on housing supply, it would appear almost as if every fear is soon to be justified.
For years councils could obfuscate the matter simply with denials and refusals to keep figures, now we have it in black and white the plan to privilege asylum seekers over Irish citizens when it comes to housing.
To make matters worse our elites also seem destined to push ahead a further liberalisation of nationality laws to incentivise migration to Ireland, with a post-Brexit inflow of exiled professionals and Irish passport holders potentially on the cards as well. Already we have seen chunks of the Fair City reshaped into Silicon Valley in terms of demographic character and property prices, with 92% of renters in Dublin Docklands being foreign born.
Proponents for mass immigration and the open society deride those who warn of the link between mass immigration and housing as being cynics who seek simple explanations to complex questions. Increasingly however, it is hard to ignore the rather obvious link between mass immigration fueling demand and the onerous state of housing supply. While there are many home grown issues with housing, not least around planning myopia, it is hard not to view mass immigration and population spikes of this short as no way relevant.
While condemnations of the rather mild Direct Provision system have become a near daily occurrence, a whole ecosystem of substandard and overcrowded housing has emerged as a consequence of South-American immigration over the past decade, a fact any student living within the canals of Dublin City can attest to, even at a street level.
While there are many horrific stories of ten-to-a-room becoming the norm in inner city Dublin, one is witnessing the creation of de facto slums, even in the leafier of suburbs. Mass immigration is part of a wider economic model racing to a new global bottom, and one where the working and middle classes alike are cannibalised to make way for a poorer, more polyglot future.
With no ill will towards Brazilians or any minority, mass immigration minus unionisation and adequate housing supply is merely a recipe for a diminishing economic environment. The economic growth the Irish economy has seen from this influx has been fairly negligible, amounting to cheap labour going to already inefficient industries in the meat and services industry, the contradictions of which have been shown recently with covid.
While these areas were never the most dignified for workers to begin with, the perverse incentives of mass immigration into Ireland are layed out diligently, although unbeknownst, by trade union activist Nora Labo. She lists the issues around organising a diverse workforce and the avarice of agencies when recruiting foreign staff.
Any economic model that rests off mass immigration to generate growth and fill the domestic gaps in the labour force is built on a bed of sand, from rural meat factories to our silicon docklands.
With automation, working from home becoming the norm, as well as post-covid unemployment, there is no moral, economic or social argument left for mass immigration into the state beyond token numbers to fill strategic industries.
Privileging citizens is part and parcel of nation state democracy, and is to be expected should this state actually represent the people who it acts in its name. Across the world such practice is the norm even in progerssive nations like New Zealand where the state has issued a ban on largely Chinese acquisitions in the local housing market.
Considering the fact our state seriously pondered importing a semi-autonomous Chinese city-state in Dundalk per the lobbying of an international tycoon, one wonders if this responsible nativism could come sooner rather than later.
The fate should the Irish fail to mount any sort of political or cultural challenge to these changes is that of the white working classes of California, London or the many European capitals where such demographic shifts have irredeemably manifested itself. The communitarian life-force which defines Irish society will be drowned out in a destabilising world of diversity and economic precarity.
To have the demographic rug pulled under you and to live in some footloose deracinated neoliberal pleasure city where you are perpetually locked out will be the destiny for those not acclimated to the new economy and without the protection of a paternal patriotic state.
When Trotskyist Dublin councilors bemoan the phrase ‘House the Irish First’, they fear the day when their long abused voter base begins to assert themselves against the useless platitudes of universalism which fail to bring home the bacon with regards to housing. Sometimes the old adage is right and charity does begin at home, and while there are no silver bullets to housing, the empty bromides of Sorcha Pollack and friends on open borders should carry no weight when helping Irish citizens.