"Strange times in the Irish Republic. The boom years have been on for 20-odd years now, the country's becoming much more secular, immigration and asylum levels are high, the youth/dance/drug culture is widespread - it's starting to feel much more like degenerate, decadent England."In fact, given their smallish population, immigration is massive - and it's pretty much all been in the last ten years. According to the BBC, one in seven - about 14% - of the Republic's population - were born abroad - the sort of demographic shift that took thirty-five years in the UK crammed into ten.
Ironic really. Traditionally all the problems of Ireland have been seen as the fault of the perfidious English. Murderous republicans have killed English toddlers in Warrington or Pakistani shopkeepers at Canary Wharf, but have avoided blowing up Dundee or Wrexham. Only in the North have they been happy to slaughter people of Scots descent whose forebears emigrated to Ulster 400 years back - and who, ironically, were of Ulster stock.
So while Sinn Fein pledge a rebel's stand against "England's sons with their long-barreled guns", the country is filling up behind them. If one in seven of the Republic's residents were English you can be sure that the petrol bombs now burning Orange halls across the North would be toasting the joists of English-owned homes in the South. Instead Sinn Fein call for immigrants to be welcomed "with open arms" - on the grounds that the nasty Brits gave us such a hard time when we went over there, and we don't want to be like them, do we ?
Some people in Ireland aren't completely happy about what's happening.
Hibernia Girl is one. She's your one-stop shop for all Irish immigration-related news. Very much worth watching, as the changes really are massive. I don't think Ireland yet has the UK's demographic disaster as well - as far as I know they're still having babies - but I'd be grateful if she'd keep an eye on that, too.
She also nominated me as an "Excellent blog", so thanks muchly.
(It's still ironic though. Even on HGs site there are plenty of commenters who think England's the big problem. As they say at the panto "Behind you !")