Pascal Derrien

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The Jakub Chang O'Brien Bridge

Dublin Jan 2015, like in many capitals in Europe; talks, articles and almost heated debates about migration and integration are common place due to the influx of Syrian refugees transiting from South East Europe.

Dublin 2065 April 20th, today is a great day for the established multicultural nation that is modern Ireland. Near the docks there will be the inauguration of the Jakub’s bridge linking Ringsend and South Wall to Sutton. It took five years to build and the name has been picked in the honour of the great Taoiseach Jakub-Chang O Brien (Prime Minister/Taoiseach 2047-2053) and services he rendered to the nation. (see Jakub Chang O'Brien An Irish Childhood )

While everybody in Ireland would not question the reason behind why Jakub’s name was picked to christened this masterpiece of architecture, it is fair to mention that Ringsend City Council also known as Little Poland has been lobbying hard at making sure no other names in competition would be selected. Viscerally proud with anticipation, this fragment of the Irish population of Polish Descent estimated @ 50 000 in this area is looking forward to the bridge’s inauguration. It is interesting to note Polish is still commonly spoken in some streets of this vibrant part of the city.

Construction wise the multi-floored infrastructure necessitated a big influx of manpower from struggling economies like Canada, South Africa, Australia and mainly Germany. The main part of the complex strictly speaking apart from the structure flying over the sea will be based on the Sutton side where the great National Asset Museum is now based.

That museum is a national treasure, it does retrace the various stories and struggles in Ireland from the onset of the 20st century to this day. Also coinciding with the inauguration of the bridge there is currently a great temporary exposition on Irish affinity diasporas, multiculturalism and immigration. When launched the curator of the museum Sean Mc-Mumba emphasized that the current Republic seemed to have been dealing with some old demons recently which in turn had fuelled the political discussion but not always for the right reasons, he thought the new bridge would positively contribute to the debate and encourage people to attend the exhibition.

Once you have paid your fee, you make your way towards the entrance properly speaking and just before you are about to get into the museum itself you are facing a massive 10ft x 4ft replica of an article published in 2006 as a matter of introduction. It is an impressive set up outlining a piece of contempary history and the content could easily feature in an edition of the Irish Times of April 2065. The curator dares adding that not only the message and issues are not time bounded but you could easily forget geographical boundaries because the behaviours described are not unique to Ireland only.


Migrant News (Web Based Newsletter) April 2006 Volume 13 Number 2 Focus on UK & Ireland

``Immigration Minister Tony McNulty also announced new measures to track asylum applicants, including electronic monitoring. There are estimated to be 570,000 unauthorized foreigners in the UK.

Between 1991 and 2001, Britain's population increased by 2.2 million to 58 million, with half of the increase due to the settlement of foreign-born residents. The British government published a 146-page booklet, "Life in the United Kingdom," to provide advice to newcomers.

Migrant Policy. Some 345,000 EU-10 workers registered to work in Ireland between May 2004 and March 2006, including 200,000 Poles. Employers report that EU-10 workers are better motivated than British workers who apply for jobs in agriculture and hotels and restaurants

The influx of EU-10 migrants is leading to the abolishment of the Sectors Based Scheme and the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.

The UK's new "entry through skills" policy is reducing the number of side doors for nonimmigrants from 80 to five. Under the new policy, non-EU workers are to be admitted to the UK under five preferences or tiers, with Tier 1 for highly skilled professionals such as researchers and managers; tier 2 for skilled workers such as nurses and teachers; tier 3 for unskilled workers filling particular jobs such as construction workers (there are expected to be few non-EU admissions, with EU-10 nationals filling any job vacancies); tier 4 for foreign students; and tier 5 for youth exchange and temporary workers, such as working holidaymakers and entertainers.

A Skills Advisory Body (SAB) will identify labor shortages and design a single-stage application process. For example, Tier 2 applicants are subject to labor market tests to ensure that local workers are not available unless the SAB determines that the foreigners are entering to fill jobs in shortage occupations; the SAB will update the shortage occupation list every six months. In 2005, the leading sectors in which foreign professionals arrived were health and IT. About a seventh of the work permits issued in 2005 were for IT workers, primarily Indians.

The Chinese gangmaster who bought cockles from the 21 Chinese men who drowned in February 2004 said that he paid the workers L8 a bag and sold the cockles for L20 a bag, generating profits of L100 a day. The gangmaster entered the UK as an English-language student in September 2000 and stayed.

Today, many of the cockle pickers are Poles, who are paid L7.50 per 30 kg bag. Some 10,000 tons of cockles were harvested in 2004.

Ireland. Some 160,000 EU-10 workers registered to work in Ireland between May 2004 and December 2005, and EU-10 workers continued to arrive in 2006 at the rate of about 12,000 a month. The Central Statistics Office estimated that 159,000 non-nationals were working in Ireland in September 2005, including 50,000 EU-10 nationals.

Ten years ago there were almost no foreign workers in Ireland. Now there are about 243,000, more than eight percent of the total workforce, with the largest group, about 120,000, from Poland. Half of the 92,000 new jobs created in Ireland in 2005 were filled by immigrants.

There are pockets where unemployment among Irish youth is 20 percent or more, and complaints that some employers expect young people to work for less than the Irish minimum wage of E7.65 an hour. Many Irish have relatively little education: only 25 percent have third-level qualifications, compared to 65 percent of immigrants.

An Irish poll in January 2006 found that most Irish want labor migration reduced. Over 75 percent of respondents think there are enough foreign workers in Ireland, and over 50 percent agreed that the presence of foreign workers made it harder for Irish workers to get jobs.

The main opposition parties, Labour and Fine Gael, charged that foreign workers can displace Irish and exploit the welfare system by receiving payments for non-resident children. As immigration becomes more of a political issue, there are fears that the 2005 National Action Plan Against Racism may be swept aside as Irish people worry about losing their jobs and about government payments to EU-10 nationals.

Kate Holmquist, "No Irish need apply?" Irish Times, March 11, 2006. Tom Hundley, "Poles, other immigrants flood Ireland in search of a little luck," Chicago Tribune, February 3, 2006. John Murray Brown, "Racist jibes fly in Irish debate over benefits for immigrants," Financial times, February 2, 2006. ``


Not sure what the German or Canadians foreign workers of 2065 would think, has Ireland as a nation learned anything from the years 2000`s, Jakub-Chang O’Brien is now retired from politics thinks the Irish have come a long way and crossed that path a long time ago. Jakub because of his Polish and Chinese origins relates very clearly to the German and Canadian workers struggles of today. This is partly why he is proud having his name attached to one of the biggest and most ambitious piece of architecture Irelands has built in the last 100 years.

In 2064 the previous year he gave an interview to the Polish Magazine `` Journeys`` and he spent a huge amount of time examining why he believes his non Irish origins helped him to see the world issues differently. At the time of his birth he thought Ireland and Europe in general was very insular. Talking to the journalist he referred to the great crisis of 2008 and to the regional almost provincial values of the time. He is proud of how courageous and tenacious Ireland had been in undertaking a massive transformation since, to do that the country had to leave behind the illusion of being a homogeneous country.

In the interview, he also gave a very personal thank you for the service rendered to the nation from thousands of thousands of new Irish that became citizens in the last 50 years and he concluded the article with the following ‘’Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; Character is what you have when you go away’’.

Jakub has been invited to make the inaugurational speech for the official opening of the bridge. As it very often the case, he has left a big part to improvisation but he really wants to refer to the south hemisphere workers who have worked hand in hand with Irish workers and architects, he will add that without a doubt multiculturalism and inclusion is the new homogeneity factor for stability around the world. Finally, fond of statement and for ever as optimist as only Jakub can be he is thinking about the following closing.


Jakub-Chang O`Brien Irish Prime Minister/Taoiseach from 2047 to 2053


Source Migrant News

Picture Credits

Futurist Bridge

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