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Friday 24 February 2017

A generation looks abroad

5,000 seek advice at exhibition on working and living overseas

Patricia McDonagh

THEY are set to become the new Irish diaspora, travelling to all corners of the globe in the search for work and a new life abroad.

Emigration is back with a vengeance, and up to 5,000 people attended a special two-day exhibition over the weekend to get advice on moving abroad.

Thousands of young families, students and others struggling in the recession formed queues outside the "Working Abroad Expo" in Dublin's RDS, which was held over the weekend.

The expo aimed to put prospective emigrants in touch with recruiters and visa experts from Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The event boasted 45 specialist exhibitors, including government bodies, migration officials, recruitment agencies and relocation experts scheduled to offer advice and assistance on starting a new life abroad.

Exhibitors included the Canadian High Commission and Immigration New Zealand which outlined the current visa options for Irish citizens.

One of the organisers, Stephen McLarnon, said the event attracted more interest than in previous years.

"We have seen significantly more Irish people here than this time 12 months ago," he said.

"I would now estimate 80pc to 95pc of the people here are Irish. There are a lot of people here today that have jobs but they are concerned about their future prospects," he added.

"We issued 3,000 tickets. But I'd say overall we are tracking about 4,500 to 5,000 people over the two days.

For Orla Smith, a native of Swords, Co Dublin, emigration is the only way of ensuring that her daughter has a good future.

"I just had my daughter Annabelle recently and I don't want to bring her up here. What future has she got here?" she asked.

"We are considering going abroad because Des, my partner, is struggling at work and I am finding it hard to get back to work after the baby. There is just no future.

"We are trying to see if we can get visas. We are thinking of Australia because Des is a tradesman and we have friends over there," she added.

"As well as that we want to go somewhere nice and warm. It is just such a struggle over here, especially with a new baby."

Social care college student Marianne Vaughan, from Kildare, also attended the event in the hope of a new life.

She is set to graduate next month, but with limited experience in the jobs market she felt it would be easier to get a job in another country.

"I'm planning on going to Canada next March," she said.

"Three of my best friends are over there and they are doing a lot better than they would be doing here.

"There is no incentive to stay. With all the cuts its not worth my while to try and get a job here."

For midlands-based teacher Joan and husband Gene, even the lure of a secure public sector pension isn't worth staying for.

"We are a bit shot really. We have a little baby so we are looking at moving to Australia," she said.

"I know people say the public sector shouldn't give out but if people saw our wage slip they would see we are being hammered," she added.

"We don't have any quality of life anymore. We pay our bills, look after him and do the shopping, that is it."

Monaghan native Declan McKenna hoped the event would help his future.

"I will have no job at the end of the year so this is forward planning. I don't see much happening here for few years. The best option would be to go."

Irish Independent

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