Polish minority in Ireland
The Polish minority in the Republic of Ireland numbered approximately 122,585 (2.7% of the population) according to 2011 census figures, making it the largest minority in the country.
After Poland joined the European Union in May 2004, Ireland was one of just three existing EU members to open its borders and welcome Polish workers (the others being the United Kingdom and Sweden). Ireland quickly became a key destination for Poles wishing to work outside the country; in 2004 a website advertising Irish jobs in Polish received over 170,000 hits in its first day. During the 2007 Polish general election, Polish parties campaigned in Ireland and three voting locations were set up; in Dublin, Cork, and Limerick.
Since the 2008 economic downturn, the number of Polish people in Ireland has declined, with some reports suggesting that 30,000 were leaving Ireland per year, and the Central Statistics Office reporting a decrease in the number of Polish people applying for PPS numbers.
Language and media
Polish, although not officially an established subject, can be taken as part of the Irish Leaving Certificate examination as is the case with all official languages of the European Union. The exam used is based on the paper of the European Baccalaureate. In 2006, the Polish government announced their intention to open a Polish school in Dublin, offering the opportunity for students to follow the Polish national curriculum, assuming they intend to return to Poland to live.
The large number of Poles in Ireland led to the provision of a number of media outlets catering to them. Newspapers: "Nasz Glos" The Free Polish Weekly distributed across Ireland ng24.ie, Polska Gazeta and a section in Dublin's Evening Herald entitled "Polski Herald". Dublin cable television channel, City Channel, also features a programme aimed at Poles in Ireland entitled Oto Polska (This is Poland).
Online media in Ireland:
- www.ng24.ie - the official website of "Nasz Glos" The Free Polish Weekly
- Galway.pl - the largest website of Polish community in the West of Ireland
- Nadajemy.ie - the biggest social networking website for Polish people in Ireland
- Mycork.org - a website of Polish community in Cork
- Polish-chaplaincy.ie - a website of Polish chaplaincy in Dublin
- Together-Razem Centre - the first Polish charity in Ireland website
- Census 2011 p. 33
- RTE news - New Irish jobsite a hit in Poland
- RTE news - Polish Campaign In Ireland
- Finfacts.ie - Up to 1,300 Polish people leaving Ireland every week - December 2008
- Irish Independent - Poles flee ailing Irish economy - October 2008
- CSO - Foreign Nationals: PPSN Allocations, Employment and Social Welfare Activity - 2009
- State Examination Commission - Non-Curricular EU Language subjects
- Irish Times - Polish school to open in Dublin
- Network Europe - Polish Language TV in Ireland