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    Newspaper makes dubious assertion that emigration is good for business

    By Noreen Bowden | June 30, 2009

    The Sunday Business Post is claiming that an uptick in emigration is good business for at least one Irish company. In an article headlined, “Immigration is good for Fonepool”, the paper states, “The Increasing number of people opting to move abroad has provided an unexpected boost to a small Irish firm that sells mobile phones for the US, Canada and Australia”.

    Fonepool began trading in 2003, selling prepaid US phones to J1 students travelling from Ireland to the US. While the company has had remarkable growth, going from 1,000 new phone lines in its first year of business to 12,000 this year,  the article doesn’t offer any reason to believe that the customers are emigrants rather than holiday-makers or people travelling on business. It also mentions that the company has customers in 85 countries and has an aggressive expansion programme that includes an office in Ecuador with plans for one in Colombia.

    At the same time, it reinforces the popular impression that emigration rates are rising significantly; while anecdotes like this are interesting, they aren’t grounded in any evidence. We’ll have to wait until the CSO’s annual statistics on emigration are released next month to know for certain the extent of the rise in emigration.

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