Paul Woulfe
National Association of Citizens
Information Centres, Ireland
How the huge migration of Polish Workers has
influenced the every day life of Ireland
How the huge migration of Polish Workers
has influenced the every day life of Ireland
Active Citizenship
Multicultural Ireland
The island of Ireland is
situated in the extreme
north-west of Europe.
Pop. 4.04 million
[Northern Ireland 1.6
English is recognised as
the second official
language but is the
language of the workplace
outside of Gaeltacht areas
where Irish continues to
be spoken.
Ireland was admitted to
the UN in 1955 and
acceded to the European
Economic Community in
Irelands Celtic Tiger
Ireland was a very closed country and not a
particularly attractive destination to come to in
search of work
Record unemployment levels forced our
brightest and talented to emigrate in search of
Population consisted mostly natives and to
encounter a non national who called Ireland
home was a rarity
Nineties finally started to change and catch up
with the rest of the world
Taking advantage of its strategic position on
the periphery of Europe, EU Funding ,low
corporation tax levels to entice foreign
investment, English speaking work force – the
economy started to boom
In recent years, Ireland has established itself
as one of Europe's fastest growing economies.
Between 1996 and 2001, GNP grew annually
by an average of 8% comparing favourably
with the rest of the industrialised world.
Irish economy has been characterised by high
growth rates, low inflation, balance of
payments surpluses and sound public finances
Ireland's strong economic performance is
expected to continue in the medium term,
aided by partnership programmes between the
Government, Trade Unions, and Employers on
the broad direction of economic and social
Since opening its labour markets, there has
been an influx of workers from the former
Communist states of Eastern Europe
10% of Irelands population are now nonnationals
Fully multicultural society home to
Bangladeshis, Chinese, Indians, Poles and
many more
Stores selling ethnic foods and newspapers in
foreign languages are now commonplace
In two short years we have embraced
unprecedented changes
The chance to experience another nations
culture, traditions and customs leave most
people with experiences and memories that
last a life time
Statistical information
The number of Polish immigrants in Ireland
has greatly increased in the last five years.
An additional pull-factor to Ireland is the fact
that it is one of only three countries, including
Great Britain and Sweden, that has opened its
employment market to free labour movement
after the enlargement of the European Union
on May 1, 2004.
Approximately 130,000 workers from the new
union countries applied for Personal Public
Service Numbers (PPSN) in the last two years.
As Poland is the largest of the accession
countries, the percentage of Polish immigrants
arriving to work in Ireland is the highest.
The Polish Embassy in Dublin estimates, in
March 2006, that about 120,000 Polish
migrants were currently staying in the
Republic of Ireland
90,320 PPSN were issued to people from
Poland between May 2004 and December
The most recent numbers from the
Department of Social and Family Affairs state
that 25,679 PPSN have been issued to Polish
workers from January until end of April 2006:
roughly 10,000 per month.
Based on PPSN alone, it is not possible to
ascertain how many of the registered people
stayed in Ireland and if they have family
members here; how many have already left
the country, as well as how many have arrived
after April 2006 or are working without a
The ‘mode of entry’ for Polish people to
Ireland is smoothed by Poland’s EU accession
and Ireland’s free work movement as well as
the role that migrants’ social networks play in
encouraging people to come from Poland to
Ireland for available jobs or homes or both.
Polish Social & Cultural
POSK is an organisation of the Polish
community living in the Republic of Ireland
and Northern Ireland
Our aim is to preserve the bond among Polish
people living in Ireland, to promote Polish
culture, art and native tradition, and to
cultivate and develop national identity.
POSK organises meetings with Polish people
from many walks of life, such as: culture, art,
science and politics; and organises a variety of
events including the celebration of national
feast days, anniversaries etc.
Polish Social & Cultural
We run a Polish Library and Polish language
Address: POSK, 20 Fitzwilliam Place,Dublin
The Polish Information and
Culture Centre
The Polish Information and Culture Centre in
Dublin provides a free information service in
the Polish language, mainly for newcomers but
also for those who have been here longer, and
is promoting the Polish culture through events.
Address:56-57 Gardiner Lower, Dublin 1
- a number of projects promoting Irish- Polish
concerts by Bakshish amd Warsaw Village
Band which were successful in attracting huge
Irish audiences
the showing of Kieslowski’s films in Pravda Bar
on lower Liffey Street, Dublin
The screening of famous Polish comedy
Seksmisja by Juliusz Machulski was attend
mostly by an Irish audience
the performance of Ireneusz Krosny,a famous
Polish mime, attracted many Irish people.
the performance of Clone Factory from Poland
at Dublin Fringe Festival also proved a smash
hit with various nationalities
There are notable examples of individuals who
have been active. Andrzej Plocki is a 24 year
old cook who is active in the Polish Centre in
Cork and in his free time, socialises with Irish
He is organising a Photos exhibition in Cork
City Library of pictures form Warsaw, to open
in November,
Gospoda, the first Polish restaurant in Cork
serve delicious Polish food
Polish Film Festival – 10th to 19th November
The IFI with the Polish
Embassy, Polish Film
Institute has come to
host the Inaugural
Polish Film festival in
Dublin to showcase a
taste of the
extraordinary talent at
work in Poland
Educational Language
There are two weekend schools for Polish
children in Dublin
The Polish Social and Cultural Association
offers Polish language and culture courses
aimed at maintaining Polish language and
culture for bilingual children.
There is also the school for children of Polish
citizens living abroad certified by the Polish
Department of Education and authorised to
issue regular certificates to balance the
differences in syllabi between Irish and Polish
schools (in case of returning to Poland).
Educational Language
While the emphasis of some of the cultural
institutions is to share Polish culture with Irish
people, most of the institutions run arts,
cultural, music and informational events,
which are predominantly in the Polish
language and aimed at a Polish audience
The arrival of Polish language schools (no
matter how casually they are organised)
indicate a need to maintain Polish language in
first or second generation children and
ultimately an orientation to Poland and the
Polish education system.
Some come to Ireland just to earn money, but
face a serious decision when remaining in
Ireland past a certain point in their child’s
education (generally fourth class). For the
most part, Polish children attend mainstream
Irish national schools and do quite well once
their English improves.
Polish media are developing rapidly in Ireland.
At time of publication, there are five Polish
newspapers published in Dublin:
Gazeta Polska, Polski Express, Szpila, Zycie w
Irelandii [Life in Ireland] and Anons.
These publications provide legal advice on
migrants’ rights and Irish law.
There are also Polish spots in the Irish media:
Polish programmes on the Irish radio and TV
(Oto Polska), Polski Herald, a weekly
supplement to the Evening Herald and Polish
columns in some Irish papers such as the
Limerick Leader.
Poland and Ireland are two of the countries in
Europe with the highest percentages of
There is a Polish chaplaincy and services in
Polish in Dublin, which are frequently visited.
Religion does not seem a decisive factor in
choosing Ireland as a migration destination,
but Poles bring their religion with them.
The church is also a chain in building up the
social networks, meeting people and getting
help when needed.
Polish Chaplaincy in Ireland Office
Address:St.Audoena Church, 14 High Street,
Dublin 8
Dominican Polish Chaplaincy, St Saviour’s
Priory, Dorset St, Dublin 1
Polish events are increasing in Dublin. In the
last year there have been many Polish
concerts, popular artists invited from Poland to
play for Polish people in Ireland (music,
cabaret, etc.), art exhibits and lectures.
Polish pubs and restaurants are seen as a
good place to meet, watch Polish TV, listen to
Polish music and get Polish food.
There are also an increasing number of stores
supplying Polish food and Polish products in
big Irish department stores, such as Dunnes
Stores and Super Valu; as well as Polish
bakeries. Again, this presents a new food
market for Polish migrants, but also for Irish
At present a lot of Poles have arrived to work
hard but for a short length of time saving as
much as possible before returning home
In the last two years many Irish employers have
started to look specifically for Polish workers
‘ethos of hard work with little complaint’
Culture of enterprise and creativity to advance
from more menial roles to ones of leadership and
Students on summer break to work and improve
their English
Love of the Irish way of life has led many to
reconsider and stay
Cheap phone calla, access to internet and
plentiful flights means home is not far away
integrate easily because from a cultural point
of view there are no major differences
[between Polish and Irish
The difficulty comes in when you want to bring
in the element of knowing the language, which
is the greatest medium for integration. A lot of
Polish people don’t know English to a degree
to communicate fluently with their neighbours
or work mates
Generally, young Polish migrants with good
standard of English are integrating
successfully in Ireland
Contributing to Ireland economic boom
Some Polish migrants do, however, fall on hard
times and don’t know where to turn.
Polish embassy officials in Dublin have estimated
that up to 600 of its citizens who came to work here
since the country joined the EU two years ago are
now accessing services for homeless people
Because there is no safety net for them; they're
expected to be self-sufficient from the moment they
arrive. The vast majority are, but those who aren't
are forced into homelessness."
Polish migrants have also faced restrictions to
unemployment assistance, a major issue for
exploited workers.
Another matter is Ireland’s burgeoning ‘little Poland’
If newcomers can immerse themselves in their own
newspapers, pub, Shops and social scene, what
chances does integration have?
Active Citizenship
A dedicated team of Polish construction
workers in Roscommon helped to build a
house for charity recently. Working as Builders
for Africa’ they are part of an ambitious bid to
rise 20 million euro for Niall Mellon Township
initiative, a charity which build homes for
peoples living in the townships of Cape Town,
South Africa.
EU citizens may vote at European and local
Polish Eagles FC – won the innagural Brian
Kerr Intercontinential league which featured
18 immigrant teams.It has evolved into a
semi-professional setup(number of players
have played professionally in Poland).
Integration of nationalities was the purpose of
Brian Kerr Intercontinental league which was
established by SARI
Polish Volleyball Team
Polish involved in coaching and supervision in
towns and villages throughout Ireland
‘Every culture and country has something to
learn from another's and while we are awash
with stories of how wonderful the Celtic tiger
is, Ireland should take the time to look outside
itself and see what can be learned from our
neighbours. The world is a huge place and
there’s is a lot be learned’.
Polish Migrant Workers in
Report By;
By Katarzyna
With Dr Rebecca
Chiyoko King-O’Riain
National Consultative
Committee on
Racism and
(NCCRI), Community
Profiles Series
September 2006
Polish embassy in Ireland -
Polish Dominicans in Dublin -
Information portal about Ireland "" -
Polish Social and Culture Centre and Irish-Polish Society
Polish Information and Culture Centre -
Information portal about Ireland
Database about Poles in Ireland -
Information portal about Ireland "" Information portal about Ireland "Polski
Dublin" -
Beautiful pictures of Ireland made by Polish photographers
Polish weekly newspaper in Ireland "Polska Gazeta"
Polish-Irish Society in Poznan -
Polish forum about Ireland
Information site about Ireland -
Polish society around the world
Polonia Transport -

Polish Social & Cultural Association