Thursday 18 January 2018

Shane Coleman: The grass looks a bit greener at home - but returning emigrants won't get much from their political leaders

Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

Do other nations engage in the level of navel gazing and introspection we seem to relish here? The news that, for the first time since the economic crash, more people are coming to live here than are leaving has prompted a characteristic round of soul searching - and, from some quarters, withering assessments of: 'Why would anybody want to live here?'

There will always be a percentage of Irish people for whom this country is one, some, or all of the following: irredeemably corrupt, uncouth, crime-ridden, worthless, expensive, close-minded, wet and over-taxed. Even if the reality is that every country - including the US, the UK, France and even Australia and Germany - has its problems and negatives, the grass will always be greener somewhere else for them.

But you can still believe (as I do) that we are hugely fortunate to live in a wealthy, benign liberal democracy - a privilege, by the way, enjoyed by only 9pc of the world's population - and still argue about the pressing need for policies to make life even better.

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