Let’s End the Denial and Offer Positive Supports for Our Emigrants

19 Feb

By Mary Fitzgibbon (Independent Candidate, Kerry North/West Limerick)

Australian Government poster displayed 1949 to 1951 at migrant reception centres.

Nearly 1,000 citizens leave Ireland every week in a tide of forced emigration. It is estimated that 100,000 will leave over the next two years.

Emigration is causing huge  social destruction and emotional heartache here in Kerry North/Limerick West.  It is raised every time that I meet people during this campaign .

Last Saturday a mother in Tarbert told me grimly that her four children have emigrated and that she feels the political parties are in denial about the reality of emigration.

I am a  returned emigrant who took ‘Slattery’s Bus’ to London in 1987 and worked in midwifery there during the nineties. It saddens me to to witness the graduate nurses of 2011 following the same path. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past for my children and yours.

Bailing Out Private Banks to Export our Children

Poster from 1914 promoting emigration to Canada

Forced emigration will continue as long as the political parties refuse to face the reality that Ireland must default on the private bank debt that is owed to financial speculators. Only then can we seriously start to recover and create jobs. Even so, it will realistically take at least three years to return to high employment levels.

Job placement and work schemes are useful for graduates and those out of work to gain some experience but they are a very temporary solution as people ultimately want to earn a decent wage in order to finance key life decisions such as supporting a family or owning a home.

So emigration is with us for now but we must take initiatives to support our departing emigrants, nurture our diaspora while they are abroad and facilitate their return in the near future.

My Four Proposals for Positive Emigrant Support:

  1. A new agency with responsibility for pre-departure services both at home and abroad in order to give our emigrants the best possible chance of succeeding abroad.
  2. A one year rebate of tax and levies to be paid to those who are departing Ireland in order to secure work abroad.
  3. vote for the Irish abroad in all elections at home. The ballotbox.iecampaign has highlighted the reasons why this is imperative.
  4. Facilitate and encourage the Irish abroad to return to job opportunities at home as the economy recovers. Advertise all public service jobs on the publicjobs.ie site and allow candidates who are abroad to do  interviews by internet video link.

We need to act and to start planning now so that we can support and cherish those who are forced to leave Ireland.

I welcome your suggestions and opinions. We need to have a much more open discussion about these issues and to collectively devise appropriate supports and positive measures.



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