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Dan O'Brien: 2004 mass immigration policies were a mistake


Eric Cartman

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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
Further:
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.
I would add that his paper was particularly shrill in stifling meaningful debate on immigration all those years ago.

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.
 

Truth.ie

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The main purpose of immigration in Ireland at least was to jack up property prices and fuel the boom.
Building houses to house the people building the houses.
what could possibly go wrong?
 

R3volution_R3ady

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If one doesn't consider immigrants as human then one would have the basis of an argument, albeit an extremely distasteful racist one and it says more about that person than anything remotely connected with economics. Alternatively, if one considers immigrants as human then they must accept that immigrants have needs, desires, wants and thus, create jobs. Immigration has enormous benefits to native populations. They drive per capita production upwards, get around nasty trade barriers and allow for a greater division of labour. It's funny to me that the argument that they're a net drain on the welfare state only provides more ammunition in attacking immigration as opposed to the real problem, the massive welfare state. Nevertheless in Britain alone immigrants participation in the labour force far outweighs their reliance on government handouts. Anything to the contrary is simply not borne out of any evidence whatsoever. In fact, immigrants are paying for the welfare of British citizens.

Stating that immigration creates unemployment is the same as saying free trade makes us poorer. It's the same fallacious logic. If the government want to engage in discussion whereby they're willing to stop immigration and accept the sacrifice of making us marginally less well off then that is something that I fundamentally disagree with. How can immigrants compete with native populations for jobs if the native population will not do them?

Ireland needs immigrants. They bring more specialisation, are entrepreneurial, pay more into the welfare state than they take out and make things cheaper by doing jobs the Irish won't do. If people don't like immigrants coming here and drawing welfare then take it up with the EU and the welfare state....not those people that are leaving behind misery. Immigration makes us all richer!
 

storybud1

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The Euro was our Marshall plan but nobody told us we didn't need it in the first place, our economy was just right for our size in the late nineties. Bertie just could not help his ego and we let him ruin the economy, open borders and generous social welfare is not a good mix, just ask the Roma and some of the Nigerians that simply cannot believe we were Sweden on Steroids.

The Swiss have immigration into THEIR Country sorted, I love the service the Polish people give me, I appreciate the work ethic they have that so many of our own never learned because of the welfare state.

We have opened our Country to so many decent people yet we have also opened it to a lot wasters and spongers that know the social welfare honey pot before they got here.

I see it everyday, non EU people driving 40K cars and on the friggin welfare,fair play to them for using the system that pays for all their needs. The problem is that the one time the government asked us about this (the Citizenship referendum in 2004) we voted 80% to stop the asylum/children born scam, and this was in the boom?

How about we have a few more referendums (just remember Lisbon 2), what a total joke.

1) Do you want to pay the €160 tax to keep RTE in its comfort or Not ? bye bye RTE Pravda.
2) Do you want to list all politicians assets, past and current, family members included
Larry Goodman just spent 37 mill on a new jet? FFS , it is unbelievable,
3) Do you want welfare biometric ID cards issued and linked to bank accounts,
4) Do you want to keep paying for single mothers (houses etc) while not stopping the fathers dole? social engineering the right way, you pay for what you spend.
 

Kevin Parlon

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Intra-EU immigration is fine IMO. Defacto open-door immigration in the form of the Asylum farce is not.
 

ibis

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The main purpose of immigration in Ireland at least was to jack up property prices and fuel the boom.
The main political driver for the opening of Ireland to the accession states before almost everyone else was to remove labour force constraints on economic growth and stop the spiraling growth of wages. The idea that accession-state immigration 'drove' the property bubble ignores the fact that the property bubble was in full swing well before 2004, and lasted a shorter time after it than before it.
 
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Dame_Enda

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Finally the penny has dropped with the Irish Times that the open-door to immigration was a mistake. For such a bastion of Irish PCness and Left-Liberalism to take this stance is very good news in terms of the capacity of Irish society to debate this matter. As politicians have long feared the ire of the IT, this also bodes well for the likelihood the issue will be properly debated in future - not least when we return to growth and need to avoid repetition of the mistakes of the past that contributed to the housing bubble.
R3volution_R3ady said:
Ireland needs immigrants. They bring more specialisation, are entrepreneurial, pay more into the welfare state than they take out and make things cheaper by doing jobs the Irish won't do. If people don't like immigrants coming here and drawing welfare then take it up with the EU and the welfare state....not those people that are leaving behind misery. Immigration makes us all richer!
If that is so why is 20% of the live register foreign-national?
 

DuineEile

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I don't know what you are moaning on P.ie for. That decision was taken in London. Our lads decided that because of the Common Travel Area (the previously unnamed phenomenon whereby we forgot to put passport controls on our border with our former coloniser), Ireland could not have a different policy to the UK.


If you are going to say "I told you so", at least say it to the right people.


D
 

DuineEile

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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.



I would add that his paper was particularly shrill in stifling meaningful debate on immigration all those years ago.

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.

Don't kid yourself that "we" had anything to do with this decision. We simply followed Britain. If Britain announced that it was only admitting Lithuanian lesbians, we would have followed suit a few weeks later.

http://www.fh-brandenburg.de/~brasche/EU/k4/k44/k444/Migrat_MOEL_Sweden.pdf

"The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said he would have to consider whether the British benefits system would attract an unmanageable number of immigrants from the new Member States. On the 5th of February 2004 he stated “we will take whatever measures are necessary to make sure that the ‘pull factor’ which might draw people here is closed off ”. The Home Office announced, on the 23rd of February 2004, measures aimed at pro- tecting the British labour market and ensuring that people could not come to the UK simply to claim benefits. "

"On the 24th of February 2004 the Taoiseach announced that Ireland would have to protect its welfare and social benefits systems from possible abuse in light of EU en- largement (Ahern 2004). An immediate concern for the government was to protect the Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and Britain by having similar arrangements for the receipt of social benefits. On the 24th of February the Minister of Social and Family Affairs announced:
Because of our common travel area with Britain it is now important that we put in place some conditions... I will be proposing changes to the social welfare code which will be no less robust than those introduced in Britain (DFSA Press Release, 24 February 2004).
"

In fact, this is not the only example. Britain initially said it was thinking of admitting all A6 nationals with no conditions. We followed suit a few days later.


Britain then said it was thinking of not admitting A6 nationals, and claiming the derogation. We duly followed suit a week later.

Britain then said it would after all admit A6 nationals. We then announced some guff about deciding that it was in our economic interest to admit A6 migrants.


And finally, the piece quoted above. I (who have a keen eye for this pretence of a foreign policy independent from Britain) remember it well as it unfolded. It is disgusting, but practically no one notices.

Britain having no interest in joining is also the reason we have stayed out of Schengen, if anyone is interested.


I know I shouldn't engage on the racists' threads, but it is on point.


D
 

Eric Cartman

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If one doesn't consider immigrants as human then one would have the basis of an argument, albeit an extremely distasteful racist one and it says more about that person than anything remotely connected with economics. Alternatively, if one considers immigrants as human then they must accept that immigrants have needs, desires, wants and thus, create jobs. Immigration has enormous benefits to native populations. They drive per capita production upwards, get around nasty trade barriers and allow for a greater division of labour. It's funny to me that the argument that they're a net drain on the welfare state only provides more ammunition in attacking immigration as opposed to the real problem, the massive welfare state. Nevertheless in Britain alone immigrants participation in the labour force far outweighs their reliance on government handouts. Anything to the contrary is simply not borne out of any evidence whatsoever. In fact, immigrants are paying for the welfare of British citizens.

Stating that immigration creates unemployment is the same as saying free trade makes us poorer. It's the same fallacious logic. If the government want to engage in discussion whereby they're willing to stop immigration and accept the sacrifice of making us marginally less well off then that is something that I fundamentally disagree with. How can immigrants compete with native populations for jobs if the native population will not do them?

Ireland needs immigrants. They bring more specialisation, are entrepreneurial, pay more into the welfare state than they take out and make things cheaper by doing jobs the Irish won't do. If people don't like immigrants coming here and drawing welfare then take it up with the EU and the welfare state....not those people that are leaving behind misery. Immigration makes us all richer!
What a load of crap.

Free market, huh? If you truly believe in the "Free Market", then you would agree that the Government ought to have left the banks alone to their own devices and if fail if necessary. Nope, they got a bailout. No "free market" there.

Low skilled immigrants were invited to the West to do "jobs that [Irish, German, American etc.] 'don't want to do'", which in reality means menial jobs. Obviously Irish people would set their sights higher than McDonald's. However, these jobs are poorly paid. Are they poorly paid because Government policy ensures a more liberal labour market? Bingo.

Government policies however in effect subsidize these "McJobs" through taking the poorly paid out of the tax net. This obviates the need for wage increases and was a popular policy. It has resulted in a situation whereby about half the working population basically do not pay either PAYE nor PRSI contributions. Oh, the employer will make Employers' PRSI contributions. This is unsustainable.

At the last census, there were approximately half a million non-Irish nationals, of which as much as a quarter are currently unemployed. A substantial proportion of employed foreigners are employed in vulnerable sectors of the economy, such as construction, catering & hospitality and the services industries. A minority do indeed work in the science and technology (particularly computer science, IT), healthcare and such like but frankly, this is overstated. The reality is most are on minimum wage type pay and probably pay little income tax and social contributions and yet are more likely to receive social welfare. This is important: I don't know about Britain but I can say that immigrants generally have paid proportionately less into the social welfare "pot" than Irish nationals (PRSI was originally an insurance fund of sorts), yet at present benefit disproportionately (higher unemployment).

The Americans have an expression for this sort of phenomenon: "importing poverty". Latin American migrants entered the States in periods of economic boom to work the menial services jobs but when the economic downturn comes, this population is more likely to become welfare dependant and gives rise to another generation whose economic prospects are poor. The mass immigration of poor, low skilled migrants to Europe has been an unmitigated social and economic disaster. Western governments made absolutely no distinction between young, highly skilled and educated foreigners and low skilled migrants. Also, too many Muslims.

What to do?

Well, if the native population are unwilling to do certain jobs then this is because social welfare is too generous (or there is poor oversight). It happens that we have about 7% budget deficit (€12bn per annum). The answer is simple: cut welfare, (though increase expenditure on retraining and make attendance at such meaningful training schemes mandatory), and see native Irish fill those jobs. No need for more foreign labour for "McJobs".

In future limit migration from Third Countries, with perhaps exceptions for certain highly skilled migrants to fill vacancies in certain sectors e.g. I.T.. We could do this by quotas. Eliminate migration from Islamic countries.

Limit benefits to migrants from non EU/EEA "Third countries", including those enjoying "subsidiary protection" i.e. failed asylum seekers. Perhaps they will go somewhere else (no need to "round them up", so). In reality, many EU countries are trying to limit benefits to member states' citizens. Expect more of this.

Basically, we must have small conservative immigration of non-Islamic citizens to fill certain sectors. We need to make immigration work for us, and not for cultural Marxist notions of "global justice" nor for exacerbating wage inequality.
 

Pinster

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Intra-EU immigration is fine IMO. Defacto open-door immigration in the form of the Asylum farce is not.
''Intra EU immigration'' is actually an ilegal term under the Law, EU citizens are simply Citizens moving within their own Country.

How many times have we voted Yes to Europe since 1973 :roll:

if i recall, free movement was in every Treaty since 1973?:roll:

I know most of us didn't even know what we were voting for, but to bring this back after 40 years and to blame other EU Citizens as the root cause of our troubles, just makes us look desperate.:shock:
 
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London Irish

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What a weird OP.
First of all, Dan says:
By way of preface, it is worth saying that I am instinctively in favour of people deciding for themselves where they should live and believe that Ireland is a better place thanks to its much greater cultural diversity compared to times past. Moreover, the available evidence points to net economic benefits accruing from Ireland’s experience of immigration.
Later he says:
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.
I think the key word here is "fully".

Then:
Because immigrants tend to work in lower skilled areas, the big increase in migrant workers after 2004 is likely to have depressed wage growth in lower-paid unskilled sectors.
Good or bad? I don't know. I just know the Polish tradespeople had to make the Irish ones up their game or they lost out.

Finally:
The most potentially negative aspect of immigration that requires greatest consideration is the risk of alienation, ghettoisation and, ultimately, social disharmony. The Immigrant Council of Ireland has spoken of “clusters” of immigrant communities that have the potential to become ghettoes. Ireland has a very clear late-mover advantage in lessening the risks of this happening. Many other countries have learnt lessons from their mishandling of integration, but it is not at all clear that the State and its agencies are exploiting that advantage. More widely, the absence of debate on immigration may be contributing to complacency.
In short, immigration is a net good, but it should be tightened (i.e. not completely stopped) and more should be done to integrate our immigrants into Irish society. Not sure how the article could be read any other way.
 

Nemesiscorporation

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Immigration from Europe is not and never has been a problem.

The European immigrants have not formed ghetto's and have integrated into Irish society quite well. Personally I think on average they have been a benefit to Ireland. None of the Europeans have formed ghetto's. Out of the Europeans only the Roma seem to be a problem in Ireland, which is easily solved by deportation.

Brazilian, Argentinian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean all appear to have on average integrated quite well.

The only people who seem to cause real problems are from Africa and the Middle East. I would suggest identifying the trouble makers and there supporters, then deport them, leaving the people who just want to get on with life like the rest of us.

Widespread dispersal of immigrants is the way to handle immigration. All ghetto's should be busted up, if paid for by social housing with social welfare.

There are tens of millions of unemployed Europeans and there is no job that can not be filled by an unemployed European. Every person I have challenged to show me a job that needs someone to be imported has failed to provide any evidence of there claim. Personally I would like to see immigration of people from outside the EU to the EU stopped completely until unemployment in the entire EU, drops back to 3% or less.

Europe needs a period of consolidation, otherwise we risk tearing the entire continent apart, not just Ireland.
 
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Don Herron

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Out of the Europeans only the Roma seem to be a problem in Ireland, which is easily solved by deportation.

QUOTE]

Not only are you Islamophobic it seems you are Romaphobic as well. What a surprise. You are desperately in need of some diversity training.
 

Nemesiscorporation

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Out of the Europeans only the Roma seem to be a problem in Ireland, which is easily solved by deportation.

QUOTE]

Not only are you Islamophobic it seems you are Romaphobic as well. What a surprise. You are desperately in need of some diversity training.
On the subject of diversity training.

Do you respect the rights of Irish people to self determine for themselves to follow or not to follow a religion of there choice, not yours?

Do you accept that you do not have the right to force islam on to Irish people?
 
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devoutcapitalist

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of course getting rid of the free movement of labour between eu states and having controlled immigration would also represent commonsense. It is not unreasonable for ireland to limit german immigration to ireland and for the german government to limit the numbers of irish immigrants to germany. I'd like to see an australian type immigration system which attracts skilled immigrants.
 

sidney waddell

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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.
So if immigrants refuse to leave Ireland, you plan to use mob violence to beat them out of Ireland.

The mask slips.
 
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