Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Independent view: Help needed for those who are heading abroad

Declna O'Brien

It appears the Government has factored the emigration of 45,000 workers into its figures for next year. What a sad reflection this is on our pitiful economic standing and even sadder that the Government appears to be taking actual comfort from the loss of talented and enterprising citizens.

According to the latest estimate from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), more than 42,000 people have left since January last year. A further 45,000 next year will take the total close to 90,000.

This is more than the population of Kilkenny, and yet there is hardly a word from the Government on what amounts to a national scandal.

On the contrary, they are now banking on even more people leaving so that the job of balancing the books will be that much easier.

We had Batt O'Keeffe crowing recently about the fact that the jobless total had dropped for the second month in a row.

It was a signal that the economy was beginning to bounce back, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation told us.

However, he conveniently neglected to mention the Big E. Where would unemployment levels stand if all those young lads and ladies decided to return from the London Olympics, Toronto, Brisbane or San Francisco; or wherever else they have travelled to seek that very basic requirement -- work?

The Government might not like to admit it but we're back to the 1980s again. For most of those going, the experience of living and working abroad will be a positive one. Hopefully, many will be able to return to jobs here at some point in the future.

Also Read

For others, though, things may not work out as well. Deprived of the safety net of family and friends, some will struggle to cope. For those, emigration is a disaster.

These are the people who will always be going home "next year"; the Irish who can be found in the bars of north London or the mining towns of the Australian outback. What one man aptly described as the sorrowful side of Paddy on tour.

Given our dependence on foreign shores to provide jobs for our unemployed, the authorities here have a responsibility to offer some sort of advice service to those departing.

Would it be that difficult for FAS to link up with their Canadian or Australian counterparts so that those considering a move to these destinations would at least be better prepared?

It is estimated that Germany will require 400,000 foreign skilled workers to maintain growth. Could FAS not link up with their German counterparts to identify possible opportunities for Irish people?

Surely a little help and advice is the least those who are being compelled to leave deserve.

Irish Independent