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    NY Times reports on recent Irish arrivals

    By Noreen Bowden | July 9, 2009

    Irish community leaders and recent immigrants speak out on rising immigration from Ireland to New York in an article in today’s New York Times.

    Immigrant activist and bar owner Ciaran Staunton says that he is now seeing four or five immigrants a day coming into his pub looking for work; a year ago, about one a day would come in. Orla Kelleher of the Aisling Irish Center in Yonkers, says that she is seeing ten immigrants a week, double that of a year ago.

    Orla says that people are now hoping to find work and stay longer than they had in the past: “Most are saying, ‘Depends on work’ or ‘As long as I can stay,’ ? she said. “Before it was kind of like, ‘Maybe three months.’ It was their call, it was their choice, whereas now they don’t have a choice.?

    Perhaps more troublingly, Orla notes that this round of emigration is breaking up families:

    Another change, she said, is the large number of men who have left their wives and children in Ireland to find work in New York. “The probability is that they have a beautiful four- or five-bedroom house back in Ireland, and that’s probably strangling them now,? she said.

    This comment highlights the rather scary effects of post-boom debt and large mortgages. It was possible, if often inaccurate, for people like Brian Lenihan (in the infamous Newsweek interview of October 1987) to depict the emigration of in the 1980s as a way for young people to gain experience and come back better prepared to make a life in Ireland. When people who have already established their lives need to leave their families in order to maintain the family home, it’s impossible to spin it positively.

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