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Expat rebels tell their stories

Wednesday, 8th May, 2019 4:52pm

A young Spanish journalist has spent the last year collecting the stories of immigrants who have made Cork city their home.

Pablo Calvache, from Jaen in Spain, came to the county in 2018 to improve his English and to experience a new culture.

Since arriving on Leeside, Pablo (26) has gone about establishing his project New Rebels in Cork for which he has interviewed a host of immigrants who have come to Cork seeking new jobs, new lives, and new adventures.

“What I have learned from the people I've met is that you can do almost whatever you want in life as long as you have the energy and the support from people and you are motivated,” Pablo told the Cork Independent.

He added: “Something I understood after talking with them, everywhere, people have the same needs and people have the same problems and people have the same dreams and goals and worries. We sometimes think we are the most important person in the world, but it's not the case.”

Among Pablo’s interviewees are a Nigerian man who came to Cork having been the victim of racism in Dublin, a Tunisian man who immigrated here 12 years ago and now runs a small business on MacCurtain Street, and a Syrian refugee who came here to escape war in his home country.

Pablo said: “It can really depend on the country you're coming from. For instance, for me coming to Ireland is super easy, all I need is my passport. We are very lucky.

“But for many people it is a struggle. They are coming from Africa, from South America, from Asia, from India. The thought of coming to Europe is very difficult for them. That made me appreciate being European, something I used to take for granted.”

Immigration has been a constant topic of discussion in Ireland in recent years with a number of people voicing their concerns that the recent influx of immigrants is threatening the country’s cultural identity.

“I think it will be a transition, especially for older people because they are not used to so many foreigners and immigrants living in the city, but in the long run it's going to bring a lot of benefits,” said Pablo.

“Foreign people bringing so many skills to such a small country will make the country grow faster and the economy is going to grow much more.

“Many people who come here are educated already, they are going to university or they have a masters, they don't want to just take advantage the country,” the Spanish journalist concluded.

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