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Choosing to go abroad, and having to go, are worlds apart

Canada, Canada: everyone seemed to be talking about Canada this week. More specifically, about forced emigration to Canada, and the Working Abroad Expo at the RDS which advertised jobs in that lovely country.

That's the thing: Canada really is lovely. And British Columbia -- where most of the jobs are -- is so nice I went there on honeymoon. But choosing to go, and having to go, are worlds apart.

We had reports and comment across Morning Ireland and Pat Kenny on Radio 1, Matt Cooper on Today FM, The Right Hook on TV3. It was all very sad, really. Liveline (Radio 1), in particular, struck the precise note between sentiment and sentimentality.

Sometimes the show is overheat-ed and a bit stupid. But sometimes Liveline gets it just right. This was one of those times and it was very moving, especially the testimony from parents whose children have emigrated or are about to.

Funnily enough, the most powerful contribution came from a man called Aubrey, who runs a moving company. He's relatively unaffected by all of this, and his testimony was clear and dispassionate.

But you could almost taste the sheer, overwhelming shock in his voice as he described the huge queues snaking around the RDS, and the sense of hopelessness among people.

Ironically -- or maybe appropriately -- it tied into the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis: yep, the people mostly responsible in the first place. Micheál Martin apologised for "making mistakes" and said they were sorry.

On first glance, an admirable admission of guilt. But in what seemed like an infinite series of interviews to expand on this, he still used all the old flummery and roundabout formulations: "Let me be quite clear about this", "during my time in politics". Sure, who else's time would he be talking about?

Perhaps the best reaction to Martin's mea culpa came from George Hook, who played the "we're sorry" clip, followed with a pause of disgusted contemplation, then spat: "Ugh. So what?" I couldn't have put it better myself.

Finally, BBC Radio 4 ran a timely comedy about the eurozone crisis, written by Irishman Julian Gough. The Great Squanderland Roof was very amusing and surprisingly enlightening. Sometimes, as they say, all you can do is laugh.

dmcmanus@independent.ie

Indo Review