Ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland

Ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland

Since its creation, Northern Ireland has attracted immigrants from all over the world. During The Troubles, the levels of immigration were low, there has been a large increase in the last ten years.

Most ethnic minorities live in the Greater Belfast area, although certain groups are focused on other parts of the province.


The first ethnic minority to arrive in significant numbers was the Chinese. There are 4,200 speakers of the language (as of 2004) [ [ House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 20 Jan 2004 (pt 13) ] ] and although this is dwarfed by the numbers claiming to be able to speak Irish and Ulster Scots, it was said for many years that Mandarin Chinese is the second most widely spoken "first language" in Northern Ireland after English.

Chinese people first arrived in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. Chinese is the largest non-native restaurant genre in Northern Ireland, as many of the initial immigrants set up food outlets in order to make a living.

outh Asian

Apart from the Chinese, there are a number of other ethnic minority groups from Asia. Most came from Commonwealth countries such as Pakistan and India. The influx has led to the building of Mosques and Hindu Temples to cater for spiritual needs. There is also an Asian Supermarket on the Ormeau Road in Belfast.


There are over 1,000 speakers of Portuguese in Northern Ireland. The Portuguese immigration has been more recent, having started in the 1990s. Northern Ireland's Portuguese population is located primarily in Dungannon, County Tyrone (where many work in the Moy Park factory) and Portadown, County Armagh.


There are now believed to be 30,000 Polish people living in Northern Ireland. This influx has been relatively recent, and has increased since Poland joined the European Union. A recent report showed that in the Police Service of Northern Ireland's most recent recruitment drive, nearly 1,000 Polish people applied to become officers [ [ BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Almost 1,000 Poles apply to PSNI ] ] .


There are a number of other ethnic minorities, primarily from Eastern Europe. These include most recently the immigration of people from Hungary in many smaller towns in the west of province.

As an indication of language usage, the government information site on the reform of charges for Water and Sewerage [] listed information in English, Irish, Ulster Scots, Lithuanian, Cantonese, Polish and Portuguese.


Famous people

There are a number of famous people from Northern Ireland who are from an ethnic minority background. These include broadcaster Lata Sharma (who is Asian), loyalist Andre Shoukri, whose father is from Egypt and the recently elected Alliance Party assembly member for South Belfast, Anna Lo MLA, who is from Hong Kong.

Template group
list =

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Northern Ireland — This article is about the country. For other uses, see Northern Ireland (disambiguation). Northern Ireland Tuaisceart Éireann Norlin Airlann …   Wikipedia

  • Ethnic minorities in Lithuania — Contents 1 Independent Lithuania (1918–1940) 2 World War II (1939–1945) 3 Soviet Lithuania (1944–1990) 4 Independent …   Wikipedia

  • Northern Ireland — a political division of the United Kingdom, in the NE part of the island of Ireland. 1,537,200; 5238 sq. mi. (13,565 sq. km). Cap.: Belfast. * * * Part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland occupying the northeastern portion …   Universalium

  • Ethnic minorities in Poland — Main article: Demographics of Poland 96.7% of the people of Poland claim Polish nationality, and 97.8% declare that they speak Polish at home (Census 2002). The population of Poland became one of the most ethnically homogeneous in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Northern Ireland flags issue — The Northern Ireland flags issue is one that divides the population along sectarian lines. Depending on political allegiance, people identify with differing flags and symbols, some of which have, or have had, official status in Northern Ireland.… …   Wikipedia

  • Alternative names for Northern Ireland — There are a number of alternative names used for Northern Ireland.[1] Northern Ireland consists of six historic counties of Ireland, and remains part of the United Kingdom following the secession of the other twenty six counties to form the Irish …   Wikipedia

  • Demography and politics of Northern Ireland — Northern Ireland This article is part of the series: Politics and government of Northern Ireland …   Wikipedia

  • Demography of Northern Ireland — Population 1,685,267 The population of Northern Ireland has increased annually since 1978.[1] Summary of vital statistics since 1900 [2][3][4] Average population (x 1000) Live births Deat …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of Northern Ireland — Location of Northern Ireland (orange) – in the European continent (camel white) – in the United Kingdom (camel) Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • Counties of Northern Ireland — The counties of Northern Ireland were the principal local government divisions of Northern Ireland from its creation in 1921 until 1972 when their governmental features were abolished and replaced with twenty six unitary authorities.[1] …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.