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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

Irish emigrating to London advised to prepare thoroughly

London might be close – but moving there can pose serious cultural and practical challenges to unprepared Irish migrants, the London Irish Centre has warned.

Image: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MANY IRISH PEOPLE emigrating to London are facing cultural and practical challenges due to a lack of preparation before moving, a comprehensive study by the London Irish Centre has shown.

Researchers say the study supports previous research that demonstrates a causal link between poorly planned migration and mental health disorders among London Irish community, with the feeling of ‘isolation’ being a contributory factor to poor health.

Some 87.7 per cent of the overall sample – and 94.7 per cent of recent migrants – reported poor or moderate levels of perceived social support in London.

Recent migrants can experience culture shock over competition for housing and employment, with 11.2 per cent reporting either anxiety or depression due to lack of planning and related factors. The formality of communications and level of bureaucracy involved in setting up a new life in London also came as a shock for some recent migrants.

Their study noted a “significant” relationship between the use of an Irish community organisation and awareness of entitlements.

More positively, recent migrants achieve well in terms of employment, with 55.9 per cent in intermediate managerial, administrative, professional occupations, and 10.8 per cent in manual occupations.

Recent Irish migrants also reported very positive attitudes towards their ethnicity, but noted that traditional ‘paddy’ jokes and stereotypical assumptions were sometimes disturbing.

Older London Irish communities continue to display health problems, according to the study, with 23.3 per cent of respondents aged 65 and over reporting  poor to very poor health - continuing to reflect existing evidence that the health of Irish people declines from around the age of 50 onwards.

Read in full: Fresh Perspectives – a needs analysis of the Irish community in London>

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