ABSTRACT

Ireland's inclusive political rights for migrants, together with a favourable naturalization process and accessible political parties, present favourable factors for political participation; however, migrant representation among elected representatives has remained very low. Examining the institutional context and group structures, this article explores the trajectory of migrant involvement in Irish political parties from the point of first engagement to becoming a representative in an effort to explain their under-representation in Irish political life. It is shown that neither political parties nor migrants have made a collective and sustained effort to increase migrant representation in local municipalities, which is a necessary pre-requisite for enhancing representation in the legislature. The article concludes that while opportunity structures provide some explanation towards migrant under-representation in Irish electoral politics, additional factors such as how political actors interact as a group with the institutional context are also important.