The Changing face of Communities in Carlow

Migration has always been a part of the Irish consciousness, from the days of the Celts, through the early Irish missionaries, to the Wild Geese and the Famine Ships. In purely historical terms, it is not an exaggeration to state that the Irish identity is as much a product of those who left our shores as those who stayed at home. However, the pattern established over centuries that saw Irish people move to live all over the world has suddenly dramatically changed. Over the last two decades, the changes in migration flows into Ireland are truly remarkable and this has changed the composition of a county like Carlow as well as what it means to be Irish.
 Ireland has become an increasingly multicultural society, the co-existence of diverse cultures manifested through a rich variety of languages, spiritual beliefs and rituals. These changes can be seen as an enrichment of the cultural identity of the country, an opportunity to be embraced rather than to be feared.
The key challenge facing a county like Carlow is to integrate people of much different cultures, ethnicities, languages and religions so that they become the new Irish citizens of the 21st century. Carlow County Development Partnership is committed to the development of a county that celebrates the richness which these different cultures bring and the skills which new members contribute to its economic and social life. In works well in our schools, as this picture of pupils from St Leo’s College collecting funds for the development of the Older Persons Forum shows.
Here is a link to an Irish Times Article in the “New to the Parish” series about Mohammed Rafique, part of the Rohingya community that was resettled in Carlow in 2009. He is an active member of the Carlow Integration Forum which is supported by Carlow County Development Partnership.