Angela Merkel knows that the public mood can change very quickly. So far, the Germans are happy to accept tens of thousands of well-educated Syrians who, no doubt, will contribute meaningfully to the German demography and economy; but would they be as welcoming of poor black Africans with few qualifications?
Pegida and the AfD in Germany and the emergence of far right nationalist parties in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands betoken a racist undercurrent in these liberal countries.
No such parties have succeeded in Ireland. That’s not to say that the Irish are morally superior or that the same disdain for migrants does not exist here. Most TDs will tell you that many Irish voters express concern about the numbers of migrants.
According to one survey, up to 70% of Sinn Féin supporters believed there were ‘too many’ migrants. Sinn Féin, to their credit, have never attempted to make political capital from this disquiet. But now that one in eight people in this state are non-national, well above the Western average and considerably higher than in Britain, migration will rise to the top of the Irish political agenda.
Migration, the concomitant of climate change, is set to challenge our moral certainties in the most unimaginable way.
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