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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Meet the financial advisor who ditched his Dublin career for island life

'Living in Rural Ireland' series

Seán Molloy is now manager of Achill Tourism
Seán Molloy is now manager of Achill Tourism

Cillian Sherlock

A Mayo man working in finance in the capital jumped at the chance to return to island life and believes others would too if the infrastructure was improved.

Seán Molloy (47) left his job as a qualified Financial Advisor for Clear Financial behind in 2015 to take up a full time post on Achill Island as manager of Achill Tourism.

“I live here by choice," Seán told Independent.ie.

"I was a financial advisor and when the job of Manager of Achill Tourism came up I moved back here.

"My wife and son live here. It’s much more convenient than travelling up and down to Dublin.

"I was born into the tourism industry and because I was DJ'ing it was a natural progression but I think, you know, in order to live in any place you need a full time job. When you’re living here there are a very limited amount of opportunities."

Seán previously had to travel to and from Achill once a week for stays of one night or up to three days, while his wife and son (14) stayed at home.

He now promotes overseas tourism for the island which attracts visitors for its food, beaches and activities like surfing and golf.

"I think the challenge, especially for the young kids as well, is to find opportunities and a job that match the qualifications you have," Seán said.

"In a modern world it is particularly hard for young people to stay, do the mundane stuff when things go quiet and divorce themselves from the outside world.

"On the other side of things. one of the things that make sure people come back is playing soccer and Gaelic. It’s one of the successes we have here. It would be a big reason people come back and it is the last bit of glue that’s holding the community together."

Seán still has friends in the financial sector in Dublin who have told him they would move back to Achill if the broadband infrastructure improved.

"We’re lucky to have broadband here but it is not fast enough. People who work in insurance and compliance find that the speed doesn’t allow them to get here.

"I know people who would move back in an instant if it wasn’t for that. The National Broadband Plan could really revitalise rural Ireland."

He added that schools in the area have been hit with a reduction of pupils.

"Schools are getting smaller. Sometimes there are no children in a class and there might only be 12 students in the whole school," he said.

Seán enjoys his life on the island but is aware there are challenges for some people, including his son, in staying there.

"I’m living in my own community with my own friends and family.

"That has to be one of the most rewarding things about living here," he continued.

"My 14-year-old son is growing up here too with more or less the same interests as me. That’s a big positive.

"The worry for me is that once he goes off to third-level education he will be gone forever.

"These are the last times that he will be living with us. That’s my biggest fear really."

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