Saturday 3 December 2016

Colum Kenny: A mean farewell to our lost generation

Exploited by some firms as they emigrate, our young people also deserve more State support, writes Colum Kenny

Published 04/09/2011 | 05:00

HOPE springs eternal. And with figures last week showing 88,770 people under the age of 25 on the unemployment Live Register, that is just as well. Many other young people have already left Ireland, with some phone, airline and other companies exploiting them as they go.

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Taking a boat or plane instead of taking to the streets has long been the Irish response to hard times. But bitterness abroad is bad for Irish business as well as for the heart, so we need policies that equip people to prosper when they leave and that make them relish the thought of returning some day to work in Ireland. The nation has reasons to support its new and future emigrants.

The political poison at the heart of emigration is that a citizen gone is a vote that threatens nobody. For all of the palaver about our diaspora and how we value it, (not least when emigrants or their children return as tourists or become millionaires and invest in the old sod), we have never given them a vote. So there is no political payback possible for those who must go whether they like it or not.

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