The Jewish population in Ireland is 2,557 according to the 2016 census, more than half of whom are Israelis working for multinational corporations. The Jewish community has generally been accepted in Irish life, but there have been instances of anti-Semitism. Ireland accepted approximately 30 Jewish refugees, four of whom were Holocaust survivors.
Immovable Private, Communal/Religious, and Heirless Property
There are no immovable property restitution laws specific to the Holocaust era because, as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) states, “Ireland was a neutral country during World War II and was not a participant in the conflict. As such, the Government of Ireland understands that there are no specific issues with regards to Immovable Property Confiscated or otherwise related to Ireland.” The Department of State is not aware of any claims by the local Jewish community or American citizens regarding real property dating from the Holocaust era.
Movable Property: Nazi-Confiscated and Looted Art, Judaica, and Jewish Cultural Property
Although Ireland did not participate in the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, it has taken certain steps to abide by its principles. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (the Irish language) has confirmed that Ireland experienced only one case in which allegations concerning provenance were made and did not enact formal implementation mechanisms in this regard. The country’s policy is to monitor these issues as they may evolve and to proceed on a case-by-case basis. Ireland is a signatory to the International Committee of Museums’ Code of Ethics, which commits the country to documenting the provenance of state holdings of artwork. The Irish government funded an evaluation group in 2005 and later funded the work of an internationally recognized expert on Nazi-looted art during World War II to investigate allegations made by the Wiesenthal Center in Paris that the Hunt Museum in Limerick held a significant amount of looted artwork. These investigations found no incidences that the Hunt Museum held looted art.
In 2012-2013, the National Gallery of Ireland received two separate claims for restitution of three paintings in the national collection. It was requested to either return these paintings or conclude a settlement conforming to the 1998 Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-confiscated Art. While Ireland was not a participant in the conference, the National Gallery’s website confirms it supports the consensus achieved at that conference. The Gallery conducted internal research and commissioned a private provenance researcher; on both claims, the museum declined the requests for return of or a settlement for the items because of insufficient evidence. It also said, however, that if new details come to light it would consider reexamining the claims.
There is no known indication of looted Judaica or Jewish cultural property present in Ireland.
Access to Archival Documents
Public access to archival documents is generally good, with the exception of particularly sensitive material, which is reviewed at least every five years to see if any document can be released for the public viewing. Irish law guarantees the right of access to information, and the government abides by this right in practice.
Education, Remembrance, Research, and Memorial Sites
Ireland is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The Irish government co-organizes and has high-level participation in annual ceremonies of remembrance and commemoration, including on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. The government and civil society arrange public lectures, events, and exhibitions throughout Ireland. The Irish government also provides funding to civil society organizations focused on promoting education and information about the Holocaust. The Department of Education and Skills subsidizes the costs of intensive teacher training and a certificate in Holocaust education. The Holocaust is a mandatory part of Ireland’s school curricula.