‘Ireland has been transformed in recent years by the arrival of hopeful settlers from many parts of the world . They are not just “immigrants ”. They are people with all the richness , diversity and particularity of humanity. Sorcha Pollak is a great listener who tells those individual stories with humour, sympathy , vividness and insight. This uplifting book is both a great read and an essential document of contemporary Ireland .’ – Fintan O’Toole
An inspiring chronological timeline of personal stories of migration, New to the Parish takes us on a journey across the globe – from Cameroon to Myanmar, Poland to New York, Nigeria to Venezuela, Iraq to Syria – and back home again.
These fourteen stories are given context by succinct analysis of how world events over the past decade have played a role in the migration crisis; from the 2004 enlargement of the European Union to the economic recession, the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011 to Angela Merkel’s welcome of over a million people into Germany, and from Brexit to the election of Donald Trump as US president.
Irish Times journalist Sorcha Pollak, whose own grandfather was a Czech Jewish political refugee who arrived in Ireland in 1948, provides a deeper understanding of what makes a person leave their native land, often in extreme difficulty, in order to start a new life abroad.
These are the stories of people who have come to Ireland for work, education, retirement, love and in some cases, out of necessity, forced from their homes by death and destruction. New to the Parish is an important reminder that every migrant is a human being, and that every one of us has a story to tell.
Praise for New to the Parish
‘Elegantly written and deeply-research, this is a book that will resonate far beyond Ireland’s borders. Pollak is an astute and perceptive journalist and the stories she tells in this book are compelling.’ – Paul Lewis
‘People do not leave one life behind and start another unless they must. Migration is perhaps the biggest story of our time, and the phenomenon contains many smaller stories, personal ones, all of them worth knowing. Here in Ireland, we’re used to dealing with people leaving, but what about people arriving?
Sorcha Pollak answers that question in this humane take on what Ireland is really like for immigrants. A calm and clear-eyed portrait of a country grappling with it’s own identity through the lens of migration; it is a wonderful book.’ – Maeve Higgins
About the Author
Sorcha Pollak is an Irish journalist based in Dublin working for The Irish Times with a specific focus on migration and immigrant communities in Ireland. Before joining The Irish Times Sorcha lived in London where she worked for the Guardian newspaper and TIME Magazine. She has also lived in Peruvian city of Iquitos, New Delhi, Seville and Paris. She has a BA in European Studies from Trinity College and an MSc in Media, Communication and Development from the London School of Economics.
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