Saturday 3 December 2016

We need incentives to entice the 'near diaspora' home

Published 01/04/2015 | 02:30

The 'near diaspora' - Irish people who want to return home and contribute to the economy - should be encouraged by tax incentives to think of their homeland on days other than St Patrick's Day
The 'near diaspora' - Irish people who want to return home and contribute to the economy - should be encouraged by tax incentives to think of their homeland on days other than St Patrick's Day

I am being nosy sitting in a small café in central London, listening behind my paper to three young Irish professionals grab their sandwiches as they chat about job opportunities in Dublin. This scene could be anywhere in the world today. It could be Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, New York, San Francisco or anywhere in the UK.

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Hundreds of thousands of young Irish people have left the country in the years since 2008 - the vast majority going to the English-speaking world - and now many would like to come home.

Twenty years ago, this could have been me and my mates in London. My generation went away, mainly to the UK, US and Australia, but we came back in huge numbers in the later 1990s and early 2000s. We were the first emigrant generation to come home in significant numbers. We brought with us skills, networks and experiences we had built up while working abroad and I would hope we contributed something new to the society.

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