Polish Migrants in Ireland and Their Political (Dis)engagement in Transnational Space
Central and Eastern European Migration Review, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2021 | pages: 49-69
Ireland has become one of the main destination countries for Polish migrants after Poland’s EU accession in 2004. While much of the literature on Polish migration to Ireland post-2004 focuses on its labour-market element, in this paper we analyse the political participation of Polish migrants. We utilise data from a survey conducted by the Centre of Migration Research (University of Warsaw) with Polish migrants in Ireland which documents low levels of political engagement as measured by voting turnout in Polish presidential and parliamentary elections as well as the Irish local elections and elections to the European Parliament. A lack of knowledge about political participation rights or how to engage in voting is one explanation for the low levels of voting, especially in Irish local and European parliamentiary elections. Another explanation may be the attitude that migrants have towards the political system and how they can influence it. Polish migrants predominantly report that they have no or little influence on politics in Poland and have relatively less trust in the authorities and politicians there (compared to Ireland). The key individual-level characteristic affecting Polish migrant respondents’ electoral participation in Ireland is their (lack of) voting habit formed before migration.
political participation; Polish migrants; Ireland; transnationalism