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    Irish expats in England and Wales face greater alcohol death risk

    Friday, March 20th, 2009

    Irish people living in England and Wales are twice as likely as natives to die from an alcohol-related cause, according to a paper published this month in the Journal of Public Health. Researchers at Edinburgh University used mortality statistics and the 2001 census to determine the likelihood of members of immigrant groups to die from alcohol-related conditions. Those originally from Ireland and Scotland faced the highest risk of death from such causes.

    Dr Neeraj Bhala said,

    “These groups have a greater culture of drinking than their counterparts in England and Wales. This translates into health-related problems and consequently, to alcohol-related deaths.

    Our findings show significant differneces in death rates by country of birth for both alcohol-related deaths and liver cancer. We now need to focus on developing new policy, research and practical action to help address those differences.”

    Related websites:

    Exhibition on Irish men’s experience in Britain to tour Spain and US

    Monday, March 9th, 2009

    An art exhibition exploring the experience of male Irish immigrants to Britain in the 20th Century is premiering at PM Gallery in West London this month before it goes on an international tour.

    The Quiet Men is the work of five artists drawing on their own lives to depict the London-Irish experience: Bernard Canavan, Daniel Carmody, John Duffin, Dermot Holland and Brian Whelan.

    From the gallery’s press release:

    Each featured artist is an immigrant, or child of immigrants, from Ireland. This immigrant status informs the work, which observes the margins of society and is full of stories, humour and tragedy. The church and pub appear, as do the launderette, bus and train. The theme of the journey is often present in the songs, toasts, poems and prayers of the immigrant and the artists do not stray far from the vehicles that brought them to the city and might take them away again.

    Exhibition curator and featured artist Brian Whelan says,

    ‘Irish music, literature, poetry and dance are celebrated all over the world. However, when asked to bring to mind Irish paintings, sculpture or architecture or to name an artist, many will have difficulty as very few have been celebrated outside Ireland. One reason for this may be that a people that experienced famine, war, economic hardship and mass immigration, carried only their portable culture with them in their heads, hearts and suitcases. Poems and songs have few requirements short of a good memory or the ability to carry a tune, whereas painting, sculpture and architecture are less portable and need peace, prosperity and time in order to flourish.’

    The exhibition will run from 11 March to 18 April at the PM Gallery, before it goes to Spain, Philadelphia and Chicago.

    Complementing the exhibition is a photographic exhibition, “Irish Londoners 1950-1975″, which chronicles the lives of the London Irish after the Second World War. The photographs are from the Paddy Fahey Collection at Bernt Archive.
    See more information at the PM Gallery’s website.

    Recognise Oasis’s Irish links, says Mayo county councillor

    Monday, January 5th, 2009

    A Mayo county councillor intends to rectify the “long-standing injustice” done to Manchester-born Noel and Liam Gallagher – also known as Oasis. Michelle Mulherin of Fine Gael is tabling a motion at this month’s meeting of Mayo County Council to honour the brothers, whose mother came from Charlestown. They are frequent visitors to the town, and often visited their maternal grandmother before her death in 2000.

    Cllr Mulherin told the Evening Herald:

    “The story of Liam and Noel Gallagher is that of so many of the Irish diaspora, it’s the Irish dream fulfilled. They stayed close to their mother’s homeplace and to Irish culture. Mayo is not just in their blood, it’s etched in their hearts.

    “When they came to visit the home-place as children, they came to a place with no running water, which wasn’t uncommon in that era. They always talk fondly about their memories of going fishing and berry-picking, and going into the local shop for Silvermints or a Brunch. Those are memories so many Irish people identify with.”

    The question of awards for members of the Irish diaspora is one that has been raised before. The 2002 Task Force report on Irish emigrants  called for an award to recognise the achievements of the Irish abroad.

    Read the entire article on the Evening Herald website.

    No escape from recession, says college student

    Monday, December 15th, 2008

    There’s no escape from the recession, writes a Dublin City University student in “The College View”, a campus publication. Sabrina Ryan notes that, “Emigration has been a dominant factor in Irish society over the past four centuries for many reasons including famine, job opportunity and more recently for the experience.

    That may be changing, she notes, as the traditional emigrant destinations of the US, Britain and Australia are also threatened by recession.

    Ryan interviews three emigrants:

    • a man who left from Mayo in 1971 to head for Cleveland, and who returned after a brief stay to take advantage of the improving conditions after Ireland joined the EU.
    • An undocumented immigrant living in the Bronx, who left for adventure and appreciates the life experience New York has given him.
    • A recently unemployed cabinet-maker who is planning to emigrate to Australia. His brother left for Dubai earlier this year.

    It’s an interesting insight into the emigrant experience of three different eras – made poignant by the fact that it’s written by a member of a generation that few would have believed would need to consider emigration as a matter of economic necessity.

    Related link:

    The College View: Au Revoir to Fair Ireland?

    No rise in new emigrants to Britain

    Monday, November 24th, 2008

    Figures from Britain show that there is no significant rise in the numbers of new emigrants arriving from Ireland for the first time to Britain in the first half of this year.

    The Irish Times is reporting that 5,100 Irish citizens registered for national insurance numbers between January and June. This is consistent with the 9,000 to 10,200 people who had registered during each of the four years

    The report notes, however, that the numbers do not show emigrants who may be reactivating a number they were previously allocated. Any emigrants returning to Britain after working there previously would not be showing up in these figures.

    Among those Irish registering, 58% were men; 44% were aged 18 to 24 and 43% were from 25 to 34. 40% went to London, 11% went to Scotland, and 8% were in southeastern England.

    The article quoted Joe O’Brien, policy officer at Crosscare Migrant Project as saying that the figures reflected his organisation’s experience:

    “I would think a lot of the people being let go at the moment are eastern Europeans, and there has been no increase among the Irish who come to us looking to go to England. We haven’t seen it, and we haven’t heard the organisations in London saying it either.”

    See the article on the Irish Times website.

    Irish Times: ‘growing unease’ over RTE move

    Monday, February 18th, 2008

    The Irish Times is reporting that ‘growing unease’ among TDs and Senators over RTE’s decision to shut down its medium wave service on March 24. It says there will be a meeting between the Oireachtas Committee on Communications and RTE in the next few weeks over the issue.

    The report quotes several politicians citing their concerns, including Senator Denis O’Donovan, a former TD for Cork South West. The report says:

    “As somebody who lived abroad in the 1970s in London, working my way through college, I remember the importance of the service for emigrants,” he said.

    “To listen to the broadcast of a GAA match was hugely important for emigrants.”

    He said many of those who would be most affected were now silent because they were unaware it was going to happen.

    Mr O’Donovan said while a young generation might be adept with modern technology, there was still a significant number of people who relied on the medium wave service. “These are people of modest means who who might also be living in remote areas. They have been using this service for years and years,” he said.

    “I would call on RTÉ to reverse this decision. The closure of this service will not save a great deal of money, and if it can make people’s lives happier at home and abroad, why not continue with it?”

    Read the entire article (subscription required).

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