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Return to the dark days of emigration

THE LACK of jobs here is forcing more young people to emigrate than any time in the last 20 years.

It means a return to the gut wrenching scenes at airports and ports as parents wave goodbye to their children seeking work abroad.

Economists fear that the situation will seriously impact on our ability to cater for its youngest and oldest - the death rate is lowest among the 27 EU members butwe have the highest outward migration and birth rates.

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), emigration figures have not been this high since 1989 as 27,700 people chose to leave the country during the year to April.

Numbers show that overall emigration, including non-Irish nationals, has remained the same at 65,300 but there was almost a 50pc increase of Irish nationals leaving the country.

The majority of citizens leaving the country were young people, with 43pc of emigrants aged between 15 and 24 years old and an another 46pc aged between 25 and 44 years old.


The under 25s choosing to stay in the country are faced with glum job prospects as one-third of them end up unemployed -- 40.6pc in the 15-19 age bracket and 25.8pc for the 20-24 age group.

The Union of Students of Ireland (USI) wants the government to find better solutions to the crisis which sees an increasing number of young people having to sign up for welfare provisions or leaving the country.

"We can not stand idly by while the future leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs of this country are given no choice but to join the dole queue or emigrate," USI President Gary Redmond said.

Economists and youth groups have warned that this double crisis may impede recovery in the future.

"We need to see young people as a resource for example in starting new smart-tech companies in new economic areas," said a spokesperson for Youth Work Ireland.


Efforts by the Government to provide work for Ireland' youngest and brightest has also proved inefficient.

The Employer Job Incentive Scheme, which exempts companies from paying social insurance (PRSI) for new employees, was supposed to create around 11,000 jobs, but less than 500 applications have been approved so far.