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'So many of our friends are in Oz, there's not many people left here'

Lorraine Lyons (27) and her partner Gerard McKinney (26) are from Donegal, but travelled to the jobs expo in Dublin to see what was available.

Lorraine said: "So many of our friends have emigrated now that there's not many people left at home."

Gerard explained: "Our friends have no intention of coming back, but it is still hard to leave home."

Lorraine added: "We are just keeping our options open. I have lots of hotel experience so it could be useful. And we are not tied to Ireland."

lPaul Devoy (32) from Dublin said: "I have a job here but the economy has collapsed and I seem to be working more hours for less money, so I came along to see what was on offer. I'm more interested in moving for a better quality of life. I've always wanted to travel and I've no ties here with a mortgage or anything. I found it very informative."

lPals Ciara Lowen (25) and Trisha Lynch (23), above right, from Cork heard about the expo and travelled to Dublin hear more.

Ciara explained: "My brother Robert already works in Western Australia so I wanted to find out more about what I could do if I went there too.

"He's gone two years now and loves it. I know so many people in Australia now, all over it.

"I work in a local shop in Cork, and I've been there five years. I just want to see something new."

Trisha added: "I would like my law degree some way, but I'm not too fussy. Like Ciara I just want to see something new.

"And anyway there's nobody left here now."

lPartners Eileen O'Connor (30) and Robert Boughan (39) from Kerry also have their son Matthew (10) to consider, and wanted to find out the visa situation.

Eileen said: "I'm a qualified chef and baker and I had worked in lots of different places before my son was born, and now work part-time in a coffee shop and bakery. I suppose I just feel held back and wanted to explore moving away.

"We'd be looking to move for good and now we have found out it is possible to do."

Robert added: "I'm not working at the moment but am a qualified panel beater, spray painter and electrician, so I would have a chance to get work in Australia.

"They gave us something to think about here today, and we think we'll make a go of it.

"We were thinking of just moving nearer to a bigger town, but maybe a move like this makes more sense in the long run."