Racism, Antiracism


Forced Displacement

Old and New Struggles


School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Thursday 7 March  - Friday 8 March 2024

2022 saw a sharp rise in the number of those seeking international protection in Ireland as a result of protracted conflicts, climate crisis, food insecurity and gender/sexuality persecution throughout different parts of the world. This has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and border closures as well as Brexit and the British government’s hostile environment with respect to asylum. The war in Ukraine forced more than 8 million people to flee their country, of whom approximately 80,000 came to Ireland. The number of Asylum seekers from Algeria, Somalia, Yemen and other countries in situations of conflict more than doubled in 2022 alone, with an increase of 186% in people seeking international protection since 2019.

Ireland’s asylum system operates an egregious system of containment, housing asylum seekers in institutionalised living spaces called Direct Provision centres. However, the Irish government has struggled to provide appropriate living conditions for many of the displaced. It has also not kept to a timeline commitment to end the direct provision system by 2024.

These broader geopolitical crises coupled with a national housing crisis, an increase in homelessness and an ailing public health system (in spite of the relatively good performance of the economy as a whole) has opened a space for populist contestation. The far right, which until recently had been contained to the fringes of the Irish political landscape, has become much more vocal, organising local protests against asylum seekers and refugees, thus raising the spectre of populism which already plagues many of Ireland’s European neighbours.