One step forward, two steps back in political integration: why are Polish candidates not making progress in Irish local elections
Irish Political Studies
The Republic of Ireland has had a significant Polish minority since the European Union enlargement of 2004. Despite their positive reception and successful economic integration, Poles rarely stand as candidates in local elections (in which all foreigners are entitled to run and vote); in fact, their involvement has even diminished – from nine Polish candidates in 2009 and 2014, to three in 2019. This article, based on interviews with 13 of the 19 Poles who have run thus far, 15 other politically or socially active Polish migrants and a survey (N = 503, CAPI, conducted in 2018) of Poles in the Republic of Ireland (henceforth Ireland) investigates this conundrum of a lack of progress in political integration. The political opportunity structure can be analysed from the perspective of the receiving political system – for example the attitude of political parties – or the perspective of the immigrant community. This article focuses on the latter and demonstrates that changes in the Polish community in Ireland over the last decade have made political integration more difficult. Our findings suggest that the politics and policies of the country of origin should also be considered as an important element influencing the political integration of migrants in the destination country.
Integracja polityczna, wybory lokalne, polscy migranci, Irlandia, polityka diaspory