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Do you have any Irish in you, or would you like some?

BY Patrick Gibney

Being an Irish immigrant and considering how the topic of immigration is now front and center in these turbulent political times, it seems appropriate to take a closer look at it. The Irish have been coming to America for years; some legal, some illegal. I was fortunate to get a student visa when I was 18 years old, and that eventually led, with a little good fortune, to citizenship 18 years later. People from all over the world want to come to America, which is a great compliment to this country, but immigration is handled and looked upon much differently here than it is in other countries.

When I grew up in the Ireland of the 70’s and 80’s, we had zero percent immigration. My friend, Jimmy, was the brownest person for miles around when he got a bit of a tan in the summer, if there was a summer. In fact, just the hint of a tan was enough to arouse suspicion. “Who’s yer man, the dark fella? Is he one of those Nigerians?” old Mrs. Purcell would say. “No Mrs. Purcell.” I would say, “That’s Jimmy Maher from around the corner. He got a tan from the bit of sun we had today.” It was a lovely place to grow up, and I had a very innocent childhood.

Today, Ireland has approximately twenty percent immigration. There’s no political opposition to it, though. And that’s because the Irish are acutely aware that they have shagged their way into millions of family trees across the globe. Many people don’t even know they have Irish in them. If I only had a dollar for every person who told me about their twenty-three and me results, I’d have enough money to pay for foreskin reattachment surgery for all my male American friends. “I’m 11 percent Irish!” one said, as if he had been living his whole life thinking he was Korean.

However, the handy thing about finding out that you are Irish is that you now have an explanation as to why you drink too much. I’ve met many Americans who attribute their alcohol abuse to their “Irish genes.” Twelve percent of Americans think they’re Irish. That’s about thirty-five million people. The population of Ireland is only five million. That’s an awful lot of drinking and an awful lot of shagging.

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