Sunday 25 September 2016

Sir - On a recent trip to the UK, we were invited to a Gaelic football blitz event for eight- and ten-year-old boys and girls in Guilford, North London.

Published 17/05/2015 | 02:30

Sir - On a recent trip to the UK, we were invited to a Gaelic football blitz event for eight- and ten-year-old boys and girls in Guilford, North London.

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It was a huge success and a tribute to the local GAA organisers and parents, originally from all corners of Ireland. There were up to a hundred children taking part, all with English accents - though their parents' accents were Irish. On reflection, this highlights, in microcosm, the tragedy of forced emigration and the dire consequences for Ireland's future.

The parents I spoke to are now firmly embedded in London society and contributing to its economy predominantly as teachers, doctors, nurses and in other professions. The decision to move for many was driven by necessity, and in their view, the result of a failed Irish state.

The greater tragedy is that there is no doubt that many of the children I saw, with their boundless energy and intelligence, instead of driving the Irish economy forward, will drive the British economy and its society at the highest level in the coming years.

John Leahy,

Cork

Sunday Independent

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