|New PPS # issued tp Polish Nationals 2001-2010|
Saturday 16 February 2013
Polish the silver
We bin t'gedder naa for forty year and it don't seem a day toooo much. When we were students, My Old Dutch was reading French and Arabic at the Other University. Sometime about 1974 she heard that an Irish-Islamic meeting was going to be held in Dublin the next Saturday and we went along to see what it was all about. I won't say that we doubled the audience, but it was close. I remember one young man standing up to speak for the Muslim community of Galway which he believed to be six (6) in number. Less than the minyan of at least 10 adult (boys > 13 = adult) males that constitutes a Jewish congregation. We've come a long way since then, and there are now more than 48,000 Muslims in Ireland according to the 2011 census. One of them slipped out of my Instrumentation class for prayer on Friday afternoon and we were both a bit disconcerted to find that everyone but me had knocked off and gone home when he returned.
In 2001, while pushing the frontiers analysing the freshly delivered human genome, I was sharing an office with a Polish post-doc. Twice a year (or was it more often?) he had to schlep up to the Garda Immigration Bureau in Harcourt St to renew his, special dispensation, work-permit. Only 2,259 PPS numbers were released to Polish nationals in that year. In 2004, just as he was leaving Dublin, Poland joined the EU and numbers of Poles in Ireland climbed steeply. There are now (again from the 2011 census) 122,000 Poles resident in the country: for the first time topping out the Brits (112,000 UK nationals live in the Republic). Of course, it's not just the Poles: more the half a million residents in Ireland speak a language other than English or Irish at home and with them they bring pierogi, erwtensoep, spanakopita, morcilla and saag aloo. I feel better, and fatter, already.