A Limerick social psychologist has warned that polarisation in Irish society is inevitable if we do not consciously choose to create a better world. Dr. Anca Minescu was speaking at the Identity in a Diverse Society Conference at Kilkenny College.
Stating that fostering positive identity in a diverse society is a concern for all of us, Dr. Minescu said that social isolation leads to depression and alienation.
It is a theme that was enlarged upon by PhD student Sindy Joyce whose research indicates that young Travellers in Ireland experience humiliation on a daily basis because of their ethnicity and the impact of this on their emotional health is catastrophic, with suicide accounting for eleven per cent of all Traveller deaths.
Addressing the conference Ms. Joyce said that her research into the lives of young travellers had revealed a high level of alienation and hopelessness.
The one day conference, which was organised by the Bahá’í Community in Ireland, also showcased the grassroots integration project Failte Isteach which oversees the services of 900 volunteers nationwide who offer conversation and local orientation to recent arrivals from abroad.
Amongst the other speakers at the conference were Cllr. Malcolm Noonan of the Kilkenny Integration Forum and Dr. Albert Lincoln, the former Secretary General of the Bahá’í International Community.