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The Great Irish Escape

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/irelands-young-are-on-the-march-again-2096269.html

Ireland's young are on the march again

The financial meltdown is turning it into a land of emigrants once more

By David Sharrock

Parents are losing their children to emigration as the brightest members of their generation jet off in search of jobs in Canada, Australia and the Gulf states

It's a journey that every Irish family knows but thought was consigned to the past: the farewell trip to Dublin airport and economic exile. Frank O'Brien has recently bid goodbye to both his sons at the departures gate; his wife Mary was too upset to go with him.

"What really hurts is that my boys are the cream of the crop. We raised them well, we gave them the best education we could, both of them graduated with excellent degrees. Neither of them is frightened of hard work. And they are the ones who are now having to leave," said Frank, his voice breaking with bitterness and anger.

There is no consolation in the fact that their neighbours are all being forced to make the same dismal journey from places such as middle-class Greystones, south of Dublin, to the Irish capital's shiny new air terminal.

"It's a monument to the new Great Exodus, like some Victorian folly. You should see the scenes in there of people clutching one another and crying," Frank said. "We built museums dedicated to our emigration story because we thought that was over, but the wheel's turned full circle.

"My friends across the road, their three sons are all gone, and a few doors up they've lost a son and daughter too," said Frank, a university lecturer in international business relations. Both his sons – Michael, 29, and Stephen, 23 – are now in Vancouver.

"When Michael first told me he was going I said to him: 'Son, if I had a ticket I'd leave in the morning, because there's nothing to stay here for any more'. He's got about 20 of his friends from here all out in Vancouver too, so he's not short of company.

"But what's the chances of them ever coming back? Not in a long time, with ¤50bn required to fix the mess we're in. And sooner or later they'll meet lasses and, unless they're Irish too, we'll have lost them for ever. We are losing the brightest and best of an entire generation."

A Working Abroad exhibition at Dublin's RDS conference centre was thronged with that generation yesterday. The most popular destinations are Canada, Australia and the Gulf states.

No more will they be Kilburn-bound to join ********'s Fusiliers – the Irish "navvies" employed by Sir Robert ******** to build Britain's roads in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. These emigrants are young, highly educated and skilled, with ambitions which, now the Celtic Tiger has died, can no longer be fulfilled at home.

The Irish diaspora is celebrated in verse, song and portraiture with more than a touch of melancholy and many a sly dig at the British – their former colonial masters – as the source of all their misfortunes. But when this new era of emigration is recorded on Facebook and Twitter, future historians will know that they can only blame their own government and the greed created by a property bubble that grew to cataclysmic proportions.

"I've seen all this before," said Frank. "In the 1950s I rarely saw my dad between the ages of 12 and 17 because he was away working in England as a fitter. I got Christmas work at the post office because I was the best sorter of letters and parcels they ever had, and that was because I knew the names and places of every town in England because my dad worked in every one of them.

"Then you had it all again in the 1980s. Mary and I went off to work in America for four years. But we allowed ourselves to believe that it was over. I used to call Michael 'a pup of the Celtic Tiger'. Within two days of finishing college he had his first big job with a bank, and in less than a week his whole department was taken off for a weekend in Cyprus.

"That was his experience of finding a job. At least we tried to warn him that this wasn't reality. I think it was when I noticed a small terraced house round here on the market for ¤350,000 about five years ago that I realised it couldn't last."

His younger son, Stephen, also went into banking, but last Thursday – "Black Thursday" as it is now known – he left for the airport. When Brian Lenihan, the Finance Minister, was admitting the eye-popping figures required to bail out the Irish banks, Stephen was boarding a flight for New York.

Two years after the Irish government announced a frantic pledge to guarantee the loans of its five main banks, which had lent wildly during the exponential property boom of the previous dozen or so years, the total bill was finally announced three days ago: a cool ¤50bn to bail them out, falling – with luck – to ¤35bn if and when the state recoups some of the cash.

That equates to a mind-blowing 32 per cent of GDP or, put another way, a single financial black hole larger than the entire accumulated national debt until as recently as 2007. Globally such deficits have only been run up in time of major wars.

About 100,000 people of working age are expected to have left Ireland by the end of this year, with the official unemployment rate at 13.6 per cent. Unions are putting the real figure at 20 per cent. The last time Ireland emptied like this was during the crash of the 1980s, but smart economic reforms such as lowering corporation tax helped to attract huge sums of inward investment – often from the US – and gradually created what some dared to believe was a self-sustaining virtuous cycle which really took off in the 1990s.

The stream of returning émigrés turned into such a torrent that by 2008, shortly before he resigned as Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern confidently declared that he had conquered the island's ancient curse – the export of its native people. On Dublin building sites you were far more likely to find chippies from Dudley than Dingle.

There were a few who thought it could never last. And, true enough, it hasn't.

Paddy McArt and his girlfriend, Corina Harper, are getting their bags ready to leave their homes in Donegal. "We're staying until after Christmas but we've got our tickets booked to Toronto," said the computer sciences postgraduate. "I was lucky that my parents could afford to put me through a master's course. I only stayed on because there was no work and there still isn't. Things are looking very bleak."

The couple considered Australia first but were told that there were already too many Irish graduates chasing jobs there.

As for becoming the latest generation forced to leave Ireland to find work, Paddy admits to mixed feelings: "There's definitely a depressing element to it, but at the same time it's exciting to go abroad and face new challenges. It's sad that there's nothing here for us. We would like to come back as soon as possible but realistically that's not going to happen any time soon. And if we get good jobs out there, who knows?

"A lot of aunties and uncles would have gone to England and America to work. I grew up hearing those stories, but I never in a million years thought that I'd have to end up doing the same thing."

Crunch in numbers

  • 52bn Amount Irish banks owe the European Central Bank
  • 100,000 Number of people who are expected to leave Ireland this year
  • £29.6bn Loss to Irish taxpayers on Anglo Irish Bank alone
  • 32 per cent of GDP: Ireland's budget deficit this year
  • £28.6bn Ireland's total tax take
  • 345,000 Number of empty homes in Ireland in 2009
  • £35,612 Cost to each Irish household of the bank bail-out
  • 10,000 People become unemployed each week
  • 75 per cent Fall in value of Irish stock market since 2007
  • 65 per cent Amount commercial property prices have fallen during crisis

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I think any clever Welsh should consider doing the same... although the Welsh have a tendency to stay in their own villages... and do not have the same luxury as the Irish as being welcomed by the States and having large Irish pressure groups in the US, Canada, Oz, etc, which put pressure on their Govts to let in those from Eire.

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I think any clever Welsh should consider doing the same... although the Welsh have a tendency to stay in their own villages... and do not have the same luxury as the Irish as being welcomed by the States and having large Irish pressure groups in the US, Canada, Oz, etc, which put pressure on their Govts to let in those from Eire.

The Welsh never leave because they have trouble with the road signage.

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Was speaking with two newly qualified dentists last week , who have moved from Ireland to over here , in order to get work. They said out of 36 who graduated in their year just 2 have found jobs in Ireland.

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I think there will be a very similar story in Britain over the next decade, and there'll be a new generation of 'Auf wiedersehen Pet'-style UK emigrants.

I'm already a Scot living in London, and virtually no one from my school works in my home town any more. Even the ones who still live there either work offshore in the North Sea or go abroad to work for oil companies on a contract basis. If property prices don't fall within the next couple of years, I might try and move to Germany or Canada.

I wouldn't want to have to leave, as I don't think you can ever make the kind of friends moving to a new country as a full-grown adult as you made at school or as a student (one of the big draws of London for me was that so many uni friends are here), but unless the coalition is able to make the politically hard choices and let the housing market crash, I can see me leaving the country within the next 5 years.

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I think there will be a very similar story in Britain over the next decade, and there'll be a new generation of 'Auf wiedersehen Pet'-style UK emigrants.

I'm already a Scot living in London, and virtually no one from my school works in my home town any more. Even the ones who still live there either work offshore in the North Sea or go abroad to work for oil companies on a contract basis. If property prices don't fall within the next couple of years, I might try and move to Germany or Canada.

I wouldn't want to have to leave, as I don't think you can ever make the kind of friends moving to a new country as a full-grown adult as you made at school or as a student (one of the big draws of London for me was that so many uni friends are here), but unless the coalition is able to make the politically hard choices and let the housing market crash, I can see me leaving the country within the next 5 years.

It is such a mixed up system , people like yourself forced out while others come in and so forth .

Have been working in a lettings agency in East London recently and have seen people out bidding and fighting each other over rental flats as housing is in such short supply. From what i am seeing it is wealthy foreigners who are pricing everyone else out. The global wealthy seem to be decending on London. Property is not selling but rentals is through the roof , im not sure where it will all end up , will london property crash ? I don't know , but with ever more people coming in and a dire shortage of homes and rents going up up and up who will loose and who will win ?

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I think any clever Welsh should consider doing the same... although the Welsh have a tendency to stay in their own villages... and do not have the same luxury as the Irish as being welcomed by the States and having large Irish pressure groups in the US, Canada, Oz, etc, which put pressure on their Govts to let in those from Eire.

To be honest, I was about the only 30 something year old left in the village back in the bubble times - some people hang around but most people jack it in and go to Swindon, London, Canada and Australia. Some of my family started off for Oz back in the last century, grandmother's sister went to the states. It's been going on a long time yet nobody every complains. It's just accepted as a natural part of life. We should be raging about it in my opinion. It tears our social fabric apart and undermines any economic hopes we foster.

Edited by gruffydd

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It is such a mixed up system , people like yourself forced out while others come in and so forth .

Have been working in a lettings agency in East London recently and have seen people out bidding and fighting each other over rental flats as housing is in such short supply. From what i am seeing it is wealthy foreigners who are pricing everyone else out. The global wealthy seem to be decending on London. Property is not selling but rentals is through the roof , im not sure where it will all end up , will london property crash ? I don't know , but with ever more people coming in and a dire shortage of homes and rents going up up and up who will loose and who will win ?

It's the same with any big international city - try Paris or Rome. The yanks seem to have taken a massive shine to Paris of late. Whenever I go to London the rents make me wonder how anybody outside of financial services actually manages to live there. Insane. I'd probably choose to live in N Kent or Essex and commute in if ever I needed to live there again.

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To be honest, I was about the only 30 something year old left in the village back in the bubble times - some people hang around but most people jack it in and go to Swindon, London, Canada and Australia. Some of my family started off for Oz back in the last century, grandmother's sister went to the states. It's been going on a long time yet nobody every complains. It's just accepted as a natural part of life. We should be raging about it in my opinion. It tears our social fabric apart and undermines any economic hopes we foster.

Is Swindon a beacon of high employment? Ive only considered staying in the Bedford area, but not much work around, maybe i should move to Swindon. Looks reasonably affordable round there.

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Swindon's worth checking out - not sure how it's been knocked by the recession though. It's always been a popular place to get casual work for people in my part of W Wales.

Edited by gruffydd

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Is Swindon a beacon of high employment? Ive only considered staying in the Bedford area, but not much work around, maybe i should move to Swindon. Looks reasonably affordable round there.

What's Bedford like as a place to live, by the way? Was looking at how much decent looking houses cost near the station (some look pretty cheap to me, although I am comparing to London prices), and I could get to my office in London within 1hr 10 mins door to door. Problem is, I've been told that Bedford itself (as opposed to the surrounding countryside) has some pretty nasty social problems.

Edited by WageslaveX14

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Is Swindon a beacon of high employment? Ive only considered staying in the Bedford area, but not much work around, maybe i should move to Swindon. Looks reasonably affordable round there.

A quarter of its (working) population work in banking & finance...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-11215579

Edited by Dave Beans

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There was a very similar article written plus posted here about 6 months ago IIRC.

It's a sad state of affairs but seems to bear alot of truth.

I am in my early 30's and have been away from good auld Ulster for 6 out of the past 10 years. So thankfully I didn't get caught up into the buying mania that swept over the North & South, then the burst that has ensued.

I have friends at home still working (in various industries) however in Construction, it has apparently been a series of paycuts and no long term security for the last couple of years. None of them in that field expect it to get any better, anytime soon.

Think I have been very fortunate to up sticks and leave when I did. Would love to return home again someday but between family and friends telling me how bad it is there, I don't think there is any point for a few years yet...

We shall see how it all pans out.

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I think it was when I noticed a small terraced house round here on the market for €350,000 about five years ago that I realised it couldn't last

Shame Bertie Ahern didn't share this shoeshine epiphany. He was too busy blowing his own trumpet. Once again Across the Western Ocean for Ireland's young.

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we have a whole planet given to us.

why is it newsworthy that people wish to explore?

nothing to see here.

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we have a whole planet given to us.

why is it newsworthy that people wish to explore?

nothing to see here.

Then maybe you should go and explore , might open your eyes up to the fact that the world does not begin and end in little old Colchester.

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Then maybe you should go and explore , might open your eyes up to the fact that the world does not begin and end in little old Colchester.

been all round the world thanks.

Going to france again in fortnight.

course, everyone should be given exactly the job they want, where they want it, and at the salary they want, as of right.

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been all round the world thanks.

Going to france again in fortnight.

course, everyone should be given exactly the job they want, where they want it, and at the salary they want, as of right.

Really

On your way to France pass through Ilford and see if it is in Essex .

OH and don't dig out people that want jobs in the locations that they live , especially when you want a house at a certain price when and where you want it.

Edited by miko

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Isn't it pretty OK to expect to be able to find work in your homeland? If not, the government's shafting you big time!

Of course..If the government demands you pay taxes in FIAT, it must ensure, as part of its duties, that there is a means to earn it, buy food and drink, and shelter.

Doesnt mean they have to provide the exact job you want, trained for or deserve. Indeed, they dont have to provide ANY jobs...but they MUST ensure the conditions for enterprise are encouraged...or we could all live in a command economy i suppose.

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Ever heard of such a thing as a brain drain. These people cannot get work and therefore have to emigrate - can't even get McJobs in much of Ireland these days.

Edited by gruffydd

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  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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