Integration in Ireland's most diverse towns: Oranmore, County Galway

Using the 2011 census, George Hook looks into the most culturally diverse towns in the country

In a four part series, George Hook is examining integration efforts in the most diverse towns in Ireland, as recorded by the 2011 census.

Those include Ballyhaunis in Mayo, Balbriggan in Dublin, or in his most recent segment, Longford.

In this, the final part of the series, the focus is on Oranmore in County Galway, with a population of just 4,644 people, a fifth of whom described themselves a migrants.

The former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll:

"Oranmore is an example of a town where integration works very well. But unsurprisingly there is no direct provision centre in Oranmore. Primarily made up of people from Eastern Europe and Nigeria although most recent settlers would be of Islamic origin."

Moni Islam (Babu), Member of the Bangladesh community:

"I was qualified as an electrician back home but I came to Ireland in 2002 for a better life, more money etc. I came by work permit, I couldn’t find a similar line of work for my qualifications because I needed to do Irish exams so I work in retail. There is a significant Bangladesh population around Galway primarily working in Indian restaurants. It was a culture shock when I first arrived but I have found people to be very welcoming in general and there are so many programmes here for Muslim you really feel part of the community. And in my opinion the government are doing a lot for the people that arrive here."

Fr Diarmuid Hogan, parish priest in Oranmore:

"One aspect of all this that we are not really talking about is the idea of home. For generations we have had Irish abroad who still regard Ireland as home well now we have our own generation of people here who regard home as somewhere else and for the first time they have children who are growing up in a migrant household but they would see themselves as Irish. This raises some interesting questions...I mean where will you baptize your child? I find a lot of the Eastern Europeans in Oranmore baptized their child back home and then come back here...but also where will you get married or be buried? These are also important parts of integration that should be explored."