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  • “That’s what young people are entitled to do”: Tanaiste on emigration

    Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

    Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan was questioned about emigration in a wide-ranging interview aired last night by BBC’s Hardtalk programme. Here is what she had to say:

    Questioner: For the first time in 15 or more years, there is net emigration in Ireland. Once again we see Irish people leaving this country leaving this country looking for work. How long? How long is that going to last?

    You have two things happening. We have had over – in the80s we had about a million people working. Two years ago, two and a half years ago, over 2.1 million people working. We have 1.8 million still working in this country.

    We did have a lot of people who came from the new member states to come here. Many of them have returned home because the employment opportunities have not been afforded to them.

    Equally we have a lot of people – young people- who have decided they will go to other parts of the world to gain experience and I think the type of emigration that we have –

    Questioner: But your government was supposed to have ended that, the whole cycle of Irish having to leave Ireland.

    It’s the type of people that have left have gone on the basis that – some of them, fine, they want to enjoy themselves. That’s what young people are entitled to do.

    But moreover, they are coming with a different talent. They are coming with degrees, PhDs.  They are people who have a greater acumen academically and they have found work in other parts of the world.

    And that’s not a bad thing. Because equally we still continue to have very many people who are working here from other member states, the EU and Northern Ireland.

    Related web pages:

    Spectre of forced emigration a reality, says opposition leader

    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

    The Mayo Advertiser quotes opposition leader Enda Kenny on emigration:

    Forced emigration is again a reality in County Mayo for an entire young generation. This spectre, which haunted Mayo for two centuries, is now back as a reality. That’s why I now receive text messages and emails from Australia, Canada, and the USA enquiring about job prospects. That’s why six young footballers have left Islandeady for foreign shores. Other clubs around the country have the same problem.

    The article notes that live register figures have begun to decline from the 12,000 figure of jobless in Mayo in September 2009, due to the number of people leaving the county. Only 7,000 were unemployed in September 2008.

    Economists cite emigration as a major reason why the unemployment figures released today showed a rate of 12.7%; they would be higher were the safety valve of emigration not in effect.
    See the entire article: