Wednesday 17 July 2019

The Young Professional: 'Sweeping election vows won't bring all of us home' - Molly

BIG PLANS: Molly Muldoon in New York city where she moved after graduating from Dublin City University
BIG PLANS: Molly Muldoon in New York city where she moved after graduating from Dublin City University
Statue of Liberty

Claire McCormack

Sipping hot ports at the kitchen table and talking until the small hours with family and friends reminded Molly Muldoon of how much she missed home.

It's been almost seven years since she left Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon.

She was 24, a recent graduate of Dublin City University and bursting with ambition - where else, but New York.

Now she makes flying visits home as often as she can.

The economic downturn meant Molly's generation had the rug pulled out from under them.

Their dreams of building a career in Ireland were dashed.

And so, she packed her bags, said her goodbyes and boarded a plane to the US.

Initially, she planned to stay for a year.

But as time passed by, she was presented with all kinds of exciting opportunities.

And so, she stayed, put down roots, met her husband and made her way in media and communications.

Although Molly has no short-term plans to return, she says thoughts of home are never far from her mind.

But it will take a lot more than "sweeping statements" from Taoiseach Enda Kenny and election promises to bring her back.

"Despite not having the ability to vote I am still interested in Irish politics but hearing the Taoiseach say 'we want to get 70,000 people home' is not something that resonates with me," she said.

"Moving countries is such a huge financial, personal, emotional investment, and so when you put roots down somewhere, be it in your career, personal life or with your friends, there has to be a really strong pull that is going to persuade you and convince you to go home," said Molly.

Although she thinks government tax incentives could entice some, she says such measures could also run the risk of "alienating" those returning from those that never left.

"It all comes down to feasibility? What are the incentives? What are the opportunities at home that are better than the current opportunities that you have in Australia, Canada or where ever you are," she said.

Although emigrants are encouraged by growth in the economy, particularly in Dublin, they also recognise the drawbacks.

Their expectations have evolved from living in different countries.

Quality of life, careers and commutes are high on their list of priorities.

"You have to weigh it all up. Am I happy to go back to Dublin Bus after availing of the Tube or Subway for five years? Am I happy to go back to a city that doesn't have the same amenities and social scene? Realistically if I ever move back it is going to be to Dublin but what would that look like? Will I be able to find accommodation?" she said.

She says emigrants are aware they may face some resentment from a minority.

"On the employment front, I can see how having international experience could potentially give you a competitive edge," she said.

"But no matter where you go or what you contribute, there is always a chance of resentment from some area of society. So I don't think it would be a reason for people not to come home," she said.

For now, although she is encouraged by the recovery, Molly is happy in the Big Apple.

"The lure of home is difficult to articulate, it's your family, it's your friends, it's that special indescribable connection that you have to a place and the people and even though you don't live there anymore it's always going to be a big part of who I am," she said.

Sunday Independent

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