Placeless Patriots: The Misplaced Loyalty of “The Middle Nation”
Cowley’s chapter explores the ways in which Irish navvies have been (under-)represented in British and Irish accounts and perceptions of the Irish in Britain. He considers the controversy surrounding The Gathering (2013) initiative in the broader context of Irish diasporic grievances. These, he argues, centre on both the perceived lack of recognition of their role in British social and economic life, and "more corrosive[ly]" Ireland’s failure to recognise a legacy of emigrant "sacrifices and achievements." Through a range of life-history interviews with Irish emigrants in Britain, the chapter explores perceptions, concerns, and contradictions in the problematic relationship between the Irish diaspora in Britain and Ireland, notwithstanding that "the older Irish in Britain have remained extraordinarily steadfast in their loyalty to the Irish state."
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