Immigration issues need more discussion - European Economic News | EU Budgets, Trends & Spending | Irish Tim - Fri, May 31, 2013
I never thought I'd see it but Irish Times economics correspondent and liberal europhile now openly states that the decision to allow citizens from the ten accession countries to migrate here freely in 2004 (which was not emulated by most EU countries), was a mistake.
Oh well, ten years too late but I suppose better late than never. It's nice being totally vindicated.
Here are some points:
But immigration can have costs as well as benefits and these downsides should be discussed so they can be addressed. One example is the contribution of immigration to inflating the property bubble. Just as too much foreign capital was imported by banks to fuel the frenzy, the surge in the other mobile “factor of production” – labour – after 2004 also played its part.
Ireland was one of only three existing members of the EU who agreed to offer immediate and complete labour market access to the citizens of the 10 states that joined the EU in 2004. With the benefit of hindsight, it is hard to avoid the conclusion – from a purely economic perspective – that the decision to open the labour market fully in 2004 was a mistake.
- O'Brien believes immigration negatively affected wage equality (drove down pay in lower income brackets)
- Caused some Irish worker job displacement
- Created immigrant ghetto clusters
I would add that his paper was particularly shrill in stifling meaningful debate on immigration all those years ago.Many of those sceptical of European integration remain silent for fear of being labelled little Irelanders, while others shy away from discussion of the poverty traps created by the welfare system for fear of being called uncaring. Raising issues around the downsides of immigration leaves one vulnerable to accusations of xenophobia and racism. But ignoring the downsides and risks of an enormous socio-economic change is dangerous. Lessening the risks of scenes such as those witnessed in Sweden taking place here is in everyone’s interests. More frank discussion of immigration is needed.
Not sure there's much you can do now about it, except join some "Golden Dawn"-type party: the time to have limited low skilled immigration has come and gone. Now is the time to rationalize our social welfare resources as the Government tries to manage our budgetary crises and fiscal deficit. Now is the time to reduce immigrant numbers as the housing boom has receded. Hopefully peacefully.