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MANNIN: IMMIGRATION - BRITAIN AND IRELAND CAN LEARN FROM THE WAY MANN COPED

When Manx nationalists cautioned about high levels of inward migration two decades ago they came in for sustained vilification. More restrained commentators labelled them xenophobic. Others were less bridled with their criticisms and a gathering of nationalists at Hango Hill for the Illiam Dhone commemoration some years ago, where the issue of

Cathal Ó Luain pour Celtic League le 14/06/07 17:24

When Manx nationalists cautioned about high levels of inward migration two decades ago they came in for sustained vilification.

More restrained commentators labelled them xenophobic. Others were less bridled with their criticisms and a gathering of nationalists at Hango Hill for the Illiam Dhone commemoration some years ago, where the issue of inward migration and soaring property prices was raised, were labelled "windswept racists".

However, whilst there was concern articulated in the Isle of Man it never spilled over into intolerance and individuals moving to the Island were not attacked or abused in the way that immigrants into the adjacent Islands have been.

These days if you want to find 'racism or xenophobia" you don't have to look much further than the United Kingdom Home Office which has, paradoxically under a Labour government, become the best 'recruiting sergeant' for the far right for decades with its attitude towards and stigmatisation of immigrants.

In Ireland also senior politicians now voice unease at levels of immigration which are now said to be running at 10%. (See also Celtic News No. 2218 RATE OF IMMIGRATION CANNOT CONTINUE SAYS AHERN - May 2007) In Britain it is still in single figures.

In retrospect the indigenous Manx population coped with the level of immigration to their island quite well. Ironically, the voices now most often raised against levels of migration from Eastern Europe or further afield are those who came here themselves as immigrants over the past three decades. It would be a pity if the legacy of Mann's door policy was that it encouraged those with racist attitudes to move here.

Meanwhile, with Britain and Ireland showing a less welcoming face to potential migrants where does that leave the Isle of Man? Its government seems to still have an open door policy!

J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League

13/05/07

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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues. TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609 (voir le site)
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