21 JUNE 1963, Page 15


SI do not wish to comment on Colin Maclnnes's main thesis, but to submit one or two perhaps provocative observations on aspects he has touched on concerning Irish immigration to England. He qualifies his figures on the plea that `precise figures are hard to come by' but in this regard I can inform him, from the published Statistical Abstracts, that his are grossly under- estimated. He puts the figure for 'Irish [of Eire]' at 200,000. With minor adjustments. this could be more accurately assessed for a shorter period viz, fifteen years from 1946-1961, as about 530,000. Adding those from Northern Ireland—technically a regional movement—the total fifteen-year con- tribution of the whole of Ireland would be of the order of 900,000.

This gives substantial support to his statement that 'these immigrant populations have fathered in vast numbers entirely new kinds of native-boin English sons and daughters.' It explains more- over how wrong economists and demographers can be. Thus Dr. Kahn shortly before the war had predicted that 1942 would be the peak year, after which a steady decline in England's popula- tion would set in. The Coles had predicted during the war such a flight from England Ito its own dominions) as had never been experienced out- side the Irish exodus of the post-Famine years.

We are puzzled as to whether legs are being pulled when Colin Maclnnes suggests that England is making retribution for her questionable past in her relations with Ireland by now granting a root to its citizens, who are the victims of Ireland's own present (or recent) laissez-faire attitude towards its unemployed. When we send our cattle we demand £100 per beast. The value of our humans as nation-builders and workers is hard to compute, but at fifteen years old, they have cost us at least- £1500 to produce I am engaged on a work at the moment dealing. inter alio, with just that matter—how England can be a help and not a hindrance to Ireland. I am hopeful that when it sees the light, Colin Maclnnes will neglect no opportunity to be enlightened.

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