Monday, 30 May 2016

If my ancestors did not immigrate to Canada
I would be…

If you had asked me where my family was from I would have told you right away that I am Irish and Dutch. This is due to the fact that my grandparents on my mom’s side recently immigrated to Canada as they still have their Irish accents. I didn't really know much about their past in Ireland, but according to them after having a brief phone call with them, it’s clear to say that my life would be drastically different in Belfast, Ireland. Without their immigration to Canada I would be living in Northern Ireland with my mother’s side of the family.

I found out that my grandparents were both born in Belfast, Ireland which is the capital of Northern Ireland. Before they immigrated to Canada, my great grandparents came to Canada in 1958 to start a new life with better opportunities. About 12 years later my grandparents named Richard Graham and Sandra Graham were married on January 31, 1970 and on that same day they visited their parents in Canada by plane. After visiting Canada, my grandparents decided to stay because of the different troubles or the push/pull factors that came into play in October 1969 in Ireland.

Once they settled in Canada, they decided to stay in Etobicoke Ontario and in that same year my mother was born. Unfortunately, my grandparents couldn't find their immigration records, but now they have their Canadian Citizenship's.

In Northern Ireland there was intense political and sectarian rioting. Throughout the year of 1969, the violence was rising from the civil rights campaign, which was demanding an end to discrimination against Irish Catholics. The conflict between the Irish Catholics and Protestants lead to bloody rioting, in particular the worst riot was actually in Belfast where my grandparents grew up, and seven people were killed and hundreds wounded. The rioting got worse as the year went on as there was bombing and burning down houses, most of them owned by Catholics, as well as businesses and factories burned down. In addition, thousands of families were driven away from their homes and eventually immigrated to other countries. All of these events lead to the British Army being called as they were deployed to restore state control and peace lines that were built to separate the Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. They were essentially these giant walls that kept peace, ranging in length from a few hundred yards to over three miles. The walls were made up of various materials such as, iron, brick, and steel that rise to about 25 feet.

The youth unemployment in Ireland is fairly high compared to Canada (27% vs. 13%), according to the CIA World Factbook. This category includes the ages of 15-24, which means that this age group in particular is either in secondary or post secondary schooling. The youth can expect to attend school to age 19, but in Ontario the youth are expected to be in school until age 18. The education and different opportunities for the youth in the future are quite similar, but in Ireland there will be more people left jobless.

Continuing, Ireland's healthcare system is modern with up to date technology similar to Canada’s. It is also free, like Canada, but with the exception of paying high taxes. The level of free coverage depends on your economic health - the poorer it is, the higher your level of coverage. With the help of their healthcare, Ireland’s life expectancy is currently 80 years of age, which is almost as good as Canada’s as they are sitting at 81 years of age.

Many human rights are written in the Irish Constitution that recognizes and declares that people living in Ireland have certain fundamental personal rights. All the citizens in Ireland shall be held equal before the law. You cannot be treated as inferior or superior to any other person in society simply because of their ethnic, racial, social or religious background.

All in all, I believe that the overall quality of my life in Ireland would be relatively comparable to my life here in Canada. Although, I am happy here in Canada as I have a job that helps me bring in some personal income, as it might be difficult to find job opportunities at such a young age. But, I am thankful that my grandparents survived through the troubles, and took the ultimate sacrifice to immigrate to Canada for better opportunities for our family.

Works Cited

"Belfast." Forum for Cities in Transition. 2012. Web. 31 May 2016.

Graham, Richard. Personal Interview. 27 May 2016.

Graham, Sandra. Personal Interview. 27 May 2016.

"The World Factbook: Ireland." Central Intelligence Agency. Central Intelligence Agency, 2016. Web. 31 May 2016.

"BBC ON THIS DAY | 14 | 1969: British Troops Sent into Northern Ireland." BBC News. BBC, 1969. Web. 31 May 2016.

"An Overview of the Irish Health System." An Overview of the Irish Health System. Web. 31 May 2016.

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