Book review of Leaving the North : migration and memory, Northern Ireland 1921–2011 by Johanne Devlin Trew
journal contributionposted on 29.09.2014, 10:16 by Marc Donnchadh Scully
Johanne Devlin Trew’s recent book on migration from Northern Ireland is that increasingly rare thing in Irish diaspora studies: research that addresses a genuinely glaring gap in the literature. As she points out, there has been a relative silence with regard to migration and diaspora in relation to Northern Ireland on the part of both policy - makers and academics. The neglect of the ‘Northern diaspora’ on the political stage since the outbreak of the Troubles ma y be considered understandable, and Trew goes into some details as to the l ikely political motivations involve d. T he academic neglect of the topic is rather harder to fathom. Trew attributes this to compartmentalisation in social scientific research on the North, and a ‘partitionist’ approach in the study of 20 th century Irish mi gration (p.6). She argues that the complications arising from dealing with data from two national jurisdictions has led to a concentration in the literature on migration from the Republic, with the consequence that authorities in the North could label emig ration as ‘a Southern problem’, and that pre - 1922 Irish migration is now wrongly seen through a partitionist lens.