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Emigration figures down but 'brain drain' goes on as graduates still leaving


Marie-Claire McAleer NYCI Senior Research and Policy Officer

Marie-Claire McAleer NYCI Senior Research and Policy Officer

Marie-Claire McAleer NYCI Senior Research and Policy Officer

IRISH people are becoming less likely to emigrate while more are returning home, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

There were 5,400 less Irish emigrants in the 12 months to April of this year, as net migration fell for the second consecutive year.

Of the 80,900 people emigrating during this period, 43.6pc were Irish.

This represents a decrease of 6.1pc compared to the previous year.

Despite this, the total number of emigrants only fell by 1,000, as the number of non-nationals leaving Ireland increased by 10.6pc.

Meanwhile, the number of people arriving on these shores increased by 8,700 (12.5pc) to 69,300.

Leaving the country is also still an attractive prospect for the country's graduates.

More than half (52.8pc) of emigrants last year over 15 years of age held a third-level qualification.

The National Youth Council Senior Research and Policy Officer Marie-Claire McAleer said that she is very concerned about the level of youth emigration.


"While we welcome the slight reduction in the number of people leaving in the year to April 2015, the figures are still extremely high at 80,900 emigrants - many of whom are highly-skilled and educated," she said.

"This represents a brain drain and will inhibit our economic recovery. We need a pool of well-educated people to attract investment and stimulate and sustain economic growth."

More than 30,000 young people emigrated in the past 12 months, with 223,600 under-25s leaving Ireland since the economic crisis began.

The number of graduates emigrating is at its highest level since 2010.

However, unemployment dropped by 17pc in the past 12 months.

Numbers on the live register dropped by 43,300 to 211,200, with unemployment now standing at a six-year low of 9.6pc.

The long-term unemployment rate decreased from 6.8pc to 5.5pc. This was aligned with increased job growth as employment grew by 3pc in the past year.

Tanaiste Joan Burton said that more needed to be done to ensure continued job growth.


"We have an increase of 3pc in the number of people in employment in the year until the end of June 2015 and that shows the recovery in Ireland has taken hold," she said.

"In the context of the turmoil that is being experienced internationally it means that Ireland is very well set to progress, but also to deal with any issues that are arising in the world economy. We still have a way to go," she added.