Tuesday 24 April 2018

'Why would anyone want to return?' - Ireland's latest emigration numbers spark major debate on social media

Many emigrants are coming home to raise their own children amid the familiar Irish culture and values, while some have been forced to return because their visas have run out. Stock photo: Paul O'Connell / Getty
Many emigrants are coming home to raise their own children amid the familiar Irish culture and values, while some have been forced to return because their visas have run out. Stock photo: Paul O'Connell / Getty
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

A report on how more people are now coming into Ireland to live than are leaving has sparked a major debate.

The migration data shows that it is the first time since 2009 that Ireland has recorded net inward migration.

At least 21,100 people with Irish nationality came into the country in this period - up 74pc on last year, when 12,100 arrived. Overall, 79,300 people came to live in Ireland over the year to the end of April - up 15pc - while 76,200 left.

Business groups have welcomed the data, but it has sparked a debate on the official Independent.ie Facebook page.

The majority of readers shared their own emigration stories.

Carol Swann said she "never wanted her sons to leave Ireland" and she knows they have no intention of ever returning to live on the Emerald Isle.

"My sons left for Australia last March and have no intentions of ever living in Ireland again only to visit me their mother and brothers here," she wrote online.

"Their very words are Ireland has absolutely nothing to offer them, Ireland is too expensive especially for the young, the cost of accommodation, the expense of running a car, insurance, tax, petrol, a social life, the cost of buying their own home, they could not afford to save here, I miss them every single second of every day, but they are so much happier now, they have a fantastic life, and they are saving now to buy a home.

"I would love to have all my children living here with me in Ireland, but I realise they want better for themselves, they have a right to better," she added.

Amid a discussion of how Ireland has a very high cost of living, Claire Chambers Calvey wrote: "Ireland is expensive. So is Australia, so is the UK... I've lived in them all and they are all expensive (UAE the rent was crazy, everything else relatively cheap).

"We've just left the UK because, despite a really good salary, we simply couldn't make ends meet. I'm finding Ireland slightly more manageable.

"I got tired of trying to make a life elsewhere when all I wanted to do was come home," she continued.

"Last month, after eight years abroad - UAE, Australia, UK - we came home with our six kids and it was without doubt the best decision of them all.

"Every day we wake up to an overcast sky and often rain and I couldn't be happier."

Gerry Linnane, who lived abroad in Australia for 10 years, said he had the same mentality as Carol Swann's sons about returning to Ireland until he grew older.

"I lived in Oz for 10 years, had the same mentality as your sons, never coming back. Worked hard, making plenty of money, drove the big cars, all that jazz. But as Matt said, when I came to 30 and wanted to settle down there was only ever going to be one place.

"How can you pay $600 a week on rent, pay for a car, living expenses and have a good life too. I'm home two years, making a tenth of what I was making in Oz but have a good life. Anyone that says Oz is a better life deluded.

"If myself and my partner were in Oz I'd be working 60+ hours a week just to keep above water. There be no surfing or chasing kangaroos drinking fosters I can assure you that."

However, Mathew Hayes asked why anyone would want to return to Ireland.

"I have two sons and their families living in New Zealand. They love it there and have no wish to come home," he said.

"Like Carol said, it's hard having them away from home but they are making a life for their future and that of their children.

"I also know of people who came home to try here and they cant wait to get out again. The cost of living here is too high and we are being ripped off every where we turn."

Lloyd Power added: "I came back after four years in the USA but I shall definitely not be staying in Ireland.

"I earned almost five times my wages in the US and the lifestyle there is far superior.

"House prices in Ireland are still too expensive and taxes are far too high. The cost of living & renting in Dublin is also unattractive regardless of wages earned."

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