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Thursday 14 December 2017

'It's a very hard thing to say, but we will never be back ... even if we win the Lotto. Australia is our home now'

Barry Duggan

They came home with dreams of keeping a business that had been in the family for 121 years afloat.

But the economic downturn shattered that dream and almost two years ago they were forced to close the business and go back to Australia.

Now Declan Murphy (48), who left Newcastle West in Co Limerick to make a new life for his family, says nothing would bring them back -- even a huge Lotto win.

"We are definitely happy here, Kate is happy and the kids are too. The job is going well. Unemployment here is just under 5pc. The economy is going reasonably well and job prospects are good," he said.

Closure

"It is a very hard thing to say but we will never go back. Newcastle West will always be home, but there is no way I would uproot the kids. Not even if we won the Lotto -- this is our home now," he added.

The Murphy family moved to his wife's hometown of Richmond, 65km outside Sydney, New South Wales, in December 2010 after the downturn forced the closure of the menswear store that had been in the family since 1889.

"With a young family, I couldn't keep going back home. Business had gone that bad for us," Declan said.

Eighteen months ago, he returned to work at the David Jones department store in Sydney, where he had worked before returning to Ireland.

"I work as a merchandise manager. I look after everything now: furniture, bedding, electrical, audio -- anything other than fashion.

"Where we live is at the bottom of the Blue Mountains and is very much like rural Ireland. I commute every morning on the train. I leave here at about 6am and get home after 8pm. I travel about four hours every day -- it can be a long haul," he added.

Debts from the previous business are still being paid off. "We are sending money back since we got here," he said.

And the Murphy family is expanding -- baby Conor arrived on April 24. His siblings Ciara (8), Patrick (6) and Sinead (4) were all born in Australia and moved back to Limerick before they had to return to Australia.

Mr Murphy has no regrets about leaving Newcastle West.

"It was a hard move to make. It was very tough leaving mam and dad behind, but without a doubt, this was the best move for our family," he said.

"Ciara and Patrick still talk about Ireland. They miss their friends. Even Sinead remembers. They have fond memories of their grandad bringing them to and from school.

"The Australian accent has come into them -- definitely. We will probably have to get them a few Munster jerseys to keep them in line," he added.

Irish Independent

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