In recent times, with the influx of foreign nationals to our shores seeking political or
economic asylum the question of racism and its effect on society has been raised. Ireland
is no longer seen as an ethnically homogeneous and racist free state. This is not to say
that racism was non-existent before the arrival of ethnic groups to Ireland. As a colonised
country we are accustomed to 'outsiders' coming in. As 'insiders', however, we have
historically constructed ethnic and racial boundaries based on an 'us' and 'them'. This
notion of difference, as will be seen later, is a crucial component in ones understanding of both individual and group processes.