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Hard-up Irish emigrants seek charity in Australia

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Irish workers in Australia

Irish workers in Australia

Irish workers in Australia

Irish emigrants in Australia are increasingly turning to charity groups to help them survive. Emigrant groups have reported a surge in the number of hard-up Irish citizens who have turned to them for handouts.

The Perth-based Claddagh Association, a support group that assists people from the Irish community in times of crisis, has reported a 35 per cent increase in requests for assistance since last year.

The voluntary group said many of the calls it received were from "young lads who are practically homeless".

Joan Ross, the president of the organisation, said: "The lads might have enough left for a few nights in a hostel, but no other money for food or anything.

"That's the kind of desperation we are faced with at the moment, which is very different to what we have ever seen before."

Ms Ross warned that, despite the perception that jobs were easy to come by in Australia, many newly-arrived unskilled travellers from Ireland were struggling to find work and were falling on hard times.

"Some of these backpackers have come to Australia totally unprepared, with not enough cash to last a month."

It's also been reported that skint Irish nationals are increasingly turning to charity organisations across Australia for food.

Bev Lowe, a soup kitchen owner in Perth, recently noted a surge in the number of young Irish backpackers queuing alongside the city's homeless every day for free meals.

Meanwhile, a report has found that a new generation of Irish emigrants, those who left since the economic collapse in 2008, are experiencing similar problems to those who left Ireland in previous generations.

The study, carried out by the Clinton Institute at University College Dublin, highlighted mental health issues, financial difficulties and isolation as the key challenges facing tens of thousands of emigrants.

The report, Supporting the Next Generation of the Irish Diaspora, pointed out that since 2008 Western Australia has received the bulk of Irish migrants heading to Australia - due to the mining and construction boom in the region.

But it added that "service providers and community groups have yet to develop sufficiently to cope with this demand".

Sunday Independent