‘Even though I’ve been in Ireland since I was three years old, I don’t know where I belong really’.
This was the voice of a young person born outside the country struggling to find her place in today’s Ireland. With our experience of emigration, this is surely something we know a great deal about as Irish people, we have tried to ‘fit in too’. A lively discussion followed a paper delivered by Irish Times, Courts Correspondent, Mary Carolan who challenged Irish Society to devise and implement a moral and democratic migration policy that respects the rights of migrants and refugees under domestic, EU and international law and is also broadly acceptable to Irish people? Moderated by the chair of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Barbara Walshe, Mary stressed the importance of encouraging an honest public discourse on notions of membership and citizenship and she stated that pushing through policies without discussion can lead to further fear, stereotyping and prejudice.
At Glencree, we are currently discussing how we can best help.
Mary Carolan is Courts Correspondent of the Irish Times. She is also a member of the organising committee of the Sheehy Skeffington School on Human Rights and Social Justice. She recently completed a MA (Ethics) at Dublin City University, including modules on human rights, media ethics, bioethics and comparative religious ethics. Her MA thesis explored the re-imagining of Ireland’s Direct Provision and migration through application of specific works of Yale-based philosopher Seyla Benhabib. Those works – The Rights of Others and Dignity in Adversity: Human Rights in Troubled Times – consider how to transform notions of citizenship and political membership in the context of mass migratory movements and the spread of human rights norms.