Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.19 14 Nov 2019


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A man who moved to Ireland from Nigeria and is now an Irish citizen says there's "no better place to live and raise your children" than here.

However, he also warned about the dangers of 'riling people up' about people who moved here from elsewhere in the world.

Chuck from Longford called in to Lunchtime Live to describe his experiences living here over the past 13 years.

Irish-Nigerian man warns of dangers of 'riling people up' about immigrants

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

He was speaking in the wake of the controversial Dáil remarks by Galway TD Noel Grealish.

Chuck said he found Deputy Grealish's comments to be "quite disingenuous", and that they made him a little upset.

He suggested: "That's OK, because it's a politician so they're going to say whatever they can just to get the votes."

Chuck said he has had "beautiful experiences" in Ireland, but expressed concern over how immigrants living here are portrayed.

He argued: "Every time there are some news about the immigrant community - especially the immigrants from Nigeria - it's always in a bad light. As someone who has lived here all these years... it's not so great.

"It's very misleading for the common Irish man or woman who hears these things, because they tend to conclude that every Nigerian is a scoundrel or a scrounger."

He said he'd sometimes hear "some kind of racial slur" if people get annoyed with him, but stressed: "Generally 99% of Irish people... I would find them to be non-racists."

However, Chuck also warned: "There's this mistake of getting people riled up against people who are non-Irish people originally.

"These kind of things might become problematic, and then it could turn into some kind of hate crimes and all that. These are some of the things we should be very, very careful about."

"We are loving people"

Chuck came here to study for his masters at DCU, and he says many others from Nigeria also come to the Irish third-level institutions.

He said: "These institutions of higher learning charge them extraordinary fees... these are monies leaving Nigeria.

"If someone from Nigeria who works very hard and makes a life here, and pays their taxes and living expenses... I think they should be at liberty to do whatever they want with their income, as long as they pay their taxes."

Chuck stressed that he's made his 'oath of allegiance' to the Irish State, adding that if "god forbid" Ireland was ever attacked he would be the "first person to march to a military barracks, and sign up to defend this country".

He said: "This is who we are - we are loving people, and we have so much love to give."

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Julien Behal/PA Archive/PA Images

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