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See Footnote 17
The number of ethnic Chinese in Ireland is estimated at 60,000. The group is potentially the largest (and if not the second largest) Minority Ethnic Community in the Irish State.
The Chinese community can be categorise in three ways:
- Ethnic Chinese born outside People's Republic of China (mainland China): The earliest Chinese migrants to Ireland arrived from Hong Kong (reunited with China in 1997) from the 1950s onwards and spoke Cantonese as a first language. Later arrivals from the 1970s onwards came from Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore and spoke Mandarin, the official language of China, as a first language. Many of this cohort are now settled in Ireland running businesses, etc.
- Irish born Chinese who are mainly the children of earlier migrants.
- Chinese people born in the People's Republic of China: A more recent community from mainland China who are now the largest cohort of ethnic Chinese in Ireland. This group, most of who are from the Fujian province in the south and the Shenyang province in the north, are mainly university and language students while there are also some professional workers. This newer community speak Mandarin as a first language and many may not speak English fluently.
17 The data and categorisation of Ethnic Chinese in this section is taken from O' Leary, R. and Li Lan (2008) Mainland Chinese Students and Immigrants in Ireland and their engagement with Christianity, Churches and Irish Society, pages 2-3.