In our English course book Rotimi Adebari, Ireland’s first black mayor, is portrayed as an example for successful integration. As he lives in Portlaoise, we asked our partners from PAEC Portlaoise whether they could help us to contact Rotimi. So OSW Bochum students had the opportunity to ask Rotimi questions concerning immigration and his life in Ireland via e-mail. In the following you can read this interview. Thanks a lot, Rotimi!!!
1) Did you have any problems to get in contact with the Irish people and have you adapted any habits from there?
I found the Irish people very friendly and welcoming. My involvement in different community groups made my it easy for me to get in contact with them. I was involved in litter picking and set up a support group for the unemployed in the town. I make every effort to take on board and respect the Irish culture and values. These helped my integration process.
2) What do you think about Obama? He’s the first black president and you were the first black mayor in Portlaoise.
It was good to see Obama elected for the second time as America’s President. His election is the reality of the world we live today. A world of equal opportunity where your colour, creed, race, religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, should not be a barrier to what you can attain in life. This is what the people of Portlaoise in Ireland demonstrated in 2007 by electing me the first black mayor. The Americans demonstrated the same thing by electing Obama their president.
3) Have you ever thought about moving back to your origins?
I missed my country of origin, extended family members and friends. I have to say Ireland is home now. Two of my children were born here and this is the country they see as home.
4) Do you sometimes feel homesick?
Yes, I do feel homesick sometimes, especially during the winter months. It is very warm in Nigeria.
5) What do you think about Ireland’s immigration situation today?
Ireland’s immigration situation has changed considerably compared to 2000 when I arrived here. The 2006 population census says there were 188 different nationalities in Ireland, the figure went up to 199 in 2011 population census. 12% of the population are now immigrants compared to 10% in 2006 population census.
6) What did you do before you came to Ireland?
I worked in sales and marketing department of a television station.
7) Do you see yourself as a role model for other immigrants?
I will say YES.
8) Do you feel at home in Ireland?
Yes, I do.
And two difficult questions 🙂
Do you own a green suit for St. Patrick`s day?
Not yet, but I have a green hat.
In your opinion, which is the tastiest whiskey in Ireland?
Unfortunately, I wont be able to help you with this question now because I have not started drinking yet.
May I ask you to send me a cheep one? By Laura O. 🙂
Wait till I start to drink. I will then know the best one to send!!