I’m getting a bit sick of Dublin Airport. I’ve been traipsing out there too many times in the last few weeks; not jetting off anywhere nice unfortunately, but to-ing and fro-ing the eldest as she navigates a work and country change.
After nearly four years in Amsterdam, she decided on a move. They didn’t tackle Covid well, and being locked down away from home is challenging – and I know there are many parents with kids on different continents who haven’t seen each other in two years, such was the situation. At least we got to see each other a few times as restrictions lifted.
That said, she was done with it, and when her apartment lease ended, it seemed the right time to come back home, find a job, somewhere to live and settle down.
Ah, if only it were that straightforward.
The jobs, of course, were on hold for many of us for too many months, but in the end, it was the accommodation search that put the nail in the homecoming coffin.
We had our fair share of tears, stress and pulling the hair out.
Meeting up with old college mates and school friends proved more difficult as most of them had also moved, mainly to London.
Why? Opportunity, money and well, yes, finding a flat in Islington or Hackney or Camden isn’t at all a problem.
Per square foot, the UK capital, like Paris, Rome or Madrid, features some of the most expensive real estate on the continent.
But unlike Dublin, there is supply, a strong tenant-focused market and choice – imagine.
So, out we went again, this time to a Terminal 1 BA flight. A flat-share costing a chunk – but not an onerous one – from her new pay-cheque and the company of her friends who have already made the same decision.
My girl is now the same age I was when I had ‘settled’ with a manageable mortgage and a home to call my own, as was possible back then. She and her friends haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of that for maybe another decade.
These are the voters who won’t be voting come the next election. They’re the young adults who follow the generations of emigrants from the 1960s, 1970s and the 1980s, many of whom stayed put, married, had children and paid taxes, also lost to Ireland.
The only saving grace is that these days, they’re an hour away, not a year, or a lifetime.
We can Zoom instead of writing tissue-thin airmail letters. We get to see them at Christmas.
They’re smart, educated and sanguine about the challenges that await them. They don’t care about Brexit now, except whether they have to pay roaming charges or pay more to send home parcels.
Rather than call their Government to account, they have changed government, leaving the rest of us wondering what it was all for?
Our votes, our taxes, our choice to stay and contribute, sacrificing our children on the altar of housing to do so.