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.

Chinese

The first ethnic minority to arrive in significant numbers was the Chinese. There are 4,200 speakers of the language (as of 2004) [ [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmhansrd/vo040120/text/40120w13.htm 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.

Portuguese

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.

Polish

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 [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6251117.stm BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Almost 1,000 Poles apply to PSNI ] ] .

Other

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 [http://www.waterchargesni.gov.uk/] listed information in English, Irish, Ulster Scots, Lithuanian, Cantonese, Polish and Portuguese.

References

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.

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