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Black people in Ireland


Black people in Ireland

Black people in Ireland
Phil Lynott, prominent black Irish musician
Total population
Republic of Ireland
65,078, 1.42% (2011 Census)
Northern Ireland
1,136 (2001 Census)
Regions with significant populations
Port Laoise, West Dublin, Naas, Limerick,

Black people in Ireland have been present in small numbers since the mid-16th century. Mainly concentrated in the major cities, especially Limerick and Dublin, many in the 18th century were servants of wealthy families. There were other Black Africans in Ireland who were not slaves, notably Olaudah Equiano (also spelled Olauda Ikwuano), who visited Belfast once from London. Equiano wrote and self-published best selling accounts of his experience of slavery.[1]

Lord Edward FitzGerald was saved in 1781 by Tony Small, a freed slave, after the Battle of Eutaw Springs. Small returned with Lord FitzGerald to Ireland, and in 1786 his portrait was painted by John Roberts.[2]

Black slavery was rare in Ireland at this date, although the legal position remained unclear until a judgement in England in 1772, the Somersett's Case. Others were tradesmen, soldiers, travelling artists or musicians. Never very numerous, most of them were assimilated into the larger population by the second third of the 19th century.


  • Since Partition 1
    • Republic of Ireland 1.1
    • Northern Ireland 1.2
  • Black-Irish 2
  • References 3

Since Partition

Republic of Ireland

The increase of Ireland's non-white population started with the Irish boom of 1997 to 2009 is due in part to the laws which had governed Irish citizenship since the creation of the Republic of Ireland in 1937. These laws, which granted citizenship jus soli, were, for a period, interpreted by the Department of Justice as allowing parents who were not Irish citizens to remain in the state based on the rights of their Irish-born citizen children. This automatic granting of residency ceased in 2007, following a decision of the Supreme Court.[3] The Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland changed the qualifications for Irish citizenship in 2004.

The 2006 Irish census recorded 40,525 people of Black African ethnicity and 3,793 people of any other Black background resident in the Republic of Ireland out of a total population of 4,172,013, meaning that 1.06 per cent of the population self-identified as Black.[4] The preliminary results of the 2011 census recorded 58,697 people of Black African ethnicity and 6,381 people of any other Black background resident in the Republic of Ireland out of a total population of 4,525,281, meaning that 1.42 per cent of the population self-identified as Black.[5]

In 2007, Nigerian refugee and politician Rotimi Adebari was elected as mayor of Portlaoise, the first black mayor in Ireland. In 2011, Darren Scully resigned as mayor of Naas after stating he would refuse to represent "black Africans" because of their "aggressiveness and bad manners".[6]

The [7]

Northern Ireland

At the time of the 2001 UK Census, of the total population (1,685,267); 255 people described their ethnicity as Black Caribbean, 494 as Black African and 387 as Other Black, meaning that the total Black population was 1,136. These figures do not include individuals who described themselves as being of mixed-race.[8] The next UK census is to be performed in 2011.

As well as help from the

Black Irish Integration Association Ireland

  1. ^ Walvin, James (1998). An African's Life: The Life and Times of Olaudah Equiano, 1745–1797. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 165.  
  2. ^ Tony Small by John Roberts
  3. ^ "Parents of an Irish Child" (PDF). Immigrant Council of Ireland. 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  4. ^ "This is Ireland – Highlights from Census 2011, Part 1" (PDF). Dublin: Stationery Office. July 2007. p. 11. Retrieved 4 July 2007. 
  5. ^ This is Ireland – Highlights from Census 2011, Part 1 (pdf). Stationery Office, Dublin, Ireland. 2012. p. 37.  
  6. ^ "Darren Scully resigns as Mayor of Naas".  
  7. ^ "Irish Independent", 28 June 2011; seen online on 24-11-2011
  8. ^ "Table KS06: Ethnic group (numbers)". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  9. ^ ACSONI report online, May 2011; seen on 24-11-2011
  10. ^




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