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Brain drain fears as 250 people a day quit Ireland

CLOSE to 250 people a day left Ireland in the past year as the tide of emigration continued to rage.

There was no let-up in the amount of people leaving the country to find work elsewhere in 2013 despite improvements in the jobs market at home.

The Government is being put under pressure to stem the worrying flow of workers from our shores in 2014 – many of them youngsters who are forced to leave family and friends behind.


Data from immigration authorities in the five major destinations for Irish emigrants reveal a particular surge in the numbers heading for Canada.

Official US immigration figures, meanwhile, suggest a brain drain of talent as they included 1,171 Irish people with "extraordinary abilities or achievements" as well as 1,259 athletes, artists and entertainers.

Separately, from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) data show some 89,000 left in the 12 months to April 2013, almost 2,000 more than a year earlier.

The National Youth Council of Ireland said that it hoped 2014 would see a corner being turned with the numbers emigrating beginning to drop again.

"The last employment figures showed the numbers of people aged 25-34 in employment are down by 9pc – but in our view this is mainly due to emigration," said NYCI officer Marie-Claire McAleer. "If job growth continues we hope and expect the numbers of young people emigrating in 2014 will reduce."

The University College Cork and the Irish Research Council also revealed that unemployment is not the only reason to leave the country, as in fact almost half of emigrants were in full-time jobs before they moved.

But there was clear evidence of a brain drain as many of these were health professionals or IT specialists seeking better jobs or conditions elsewhere.

And there is hope for youngsters leaving college as increasing numbers (52pc) are getting work in Ireland within a few months of graduating – although there is still a rise in those emigrating to find a job (10pc).

Those who complete a higher qualification, such as a masters degree or a PhD, are more likely to walk straight into employment in Ireland.

Emigration 89,000 (CSO May 2012-April 2013):

* New Zealand 4,959 – 2012/13

* Australia 39,559 – 2012/13 (5,209 permanent, 15,850 working holiday and 18,500 temporary skilled working visas)

* Canada 7,558 – 2012 (895 permanent, 6,693 temporary)

* US 20,306 – 2012 (18,612 temporary, 1,694 permanent)

* UK – 15,400