Saturday 24 February 2018

Did you learn the on about Paddy Irishman...

In the UK, immigrants will soon have to take a test to see if they really understand the country. What if it happened here, asks Darragh McManus

The authorities in the UK this week announced that they will be introducing the art of queueing as part of their citizenship test for immigrants. This characteristically British activity, they feel, must be understood, acknowledged and adopted by new arrivals.

Perhaps our government might introduce something similar, asking that foreigners demonstrate a reasonable knowledge of Irish culture and traditions. (Indeed, the test might be extended to the many natives who are ignorant, contemptuous or even hostile to their native culture.)

But what defines Irishness? In the past, these questions would almost certainly have been answered by recourse to certain slivers of accepted wisdom, though those were always based more on cliché and assumption than verifiable fact.

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