Saturday 18 November 2017

Noonan stops short of repeating ‘emigrating is lifestyle choice’ comment

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

FINANCE minister Michael Noonan has said it was interesting that the vast majority of those emigrating weren't looking for work - but he stopped short of repeating his controversial comments that it was a lifestyle choice.

At the Confederation of British Industry annual lunch in Belfast, Mr Noonan said there were issues other than unemployment encouraging people to leave.

It comes as a report found that Highly qualified university graduates are dominating the flood of Irish people emigrating to Europe, the US, Canada and Australia for a better life.

The study, conducted by University College Cork, found that Ireland, despite having the same economic problems as Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece, has by far the highest emigration levels within theEU.

"The interesting finding this morning was that three quarters of the young Irish who are emigrating actually have jobs. Half of them in permanent jobs. So there are obviously other issues other than unemployment driving the desire to go abroad, Mr Noonan said.

Mr Noonan courted controversy last year after saying emigration was a lifestyle choice.

SEparately, Mr Noonan said Central Bank governor Patrick HOnohan would serve the country better by focusing on his regulatory functions rather than listening to all of the tapes on Anglo Irish Bank.

"I understand there's in excess of 200 hours of tapes. I think Governor Honohan could serve his country better by doing his regulatory work and his administrative work as head of the Central Bank rather than sitting listening to 200 hours of tapes," Mr Noonan said.

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