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    Columnist laments returnees’ plight

    By Noreen Bowden | June 8, 2007

    The Irish Independent’s article on Vincent Lavery, the 71-year-old returned emigrant who has had difficulty finding a job and accessing social welfare benefits, has prompted an article by a columnist lamenting the difficulties of return.

    Martina Devlin says that she, too, is a returned emigrant, having left for college in England in the 1980s and returning in 1995. She notes that her return had its own difficulties. She says that she learned not to draw attention to her London experience:

    There was a resistance to returned emigrants sharing their expertise, informative though it was. We’re touchy on the subject. People who haven’t worked away can feel threatened by those with a broader perspective.

    She also notes that the welcome for returning emigrants does not always live up to Ireland’s reputation.

    If our emigrants are only back for a fortnight’s holiday it’s all sweetness and light and whatever you’re having yourself, but should they relocate permanently the welcome grows tarnished.

    We pay lip service to the notion of opening our arms to our emigrants, but shrug our shoulders about problems in store for anyone taking us up on our half-hearted offer.

    Ms Devlin says she has feels sorry for retired emigrants, “because the Ireland of their hearts no longer exists”.

    The mission for them is finding if they have any common ground with the version that replaced it.

    If we could shake off our tigerish tendencies, we could help them in this challenge. A country’s assets are meant to be its people – and our returned emigrants are part of that pool of wealth.

    Read the full article on the Irish Independent website.

    Topics: elderly, Latest News, return migration | Comments Off on Columnist laments returnees’ plight

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