Dublin: ‘Flight Of The Earls’ 1,500 Emigrate Every Week In “Brain Drain”

16 Sep

(Heading For The Mail Boat) 

1,500 flee country per week in ‘brain drain’

IRELAND’S emigration rate has soared by 45% according to the latest statistics, with an estimated 1,500 people leaving the country every week.

Highlighting the scale of the country’s “brain drain”, Central Statistics Office figures also show that the majority of those emigrating are young people of prime working age.

According to the CSO’s population and migration estimates, the number of people who emigrated reached 76,400 in the year up to April.

That figure is an increase of 11,100 on the previous 12-month period. Emigration among Irish nationals rose from 27,700 to 40,200, accounting for 53% of all those leaving the country.

Some 42,300 people moved here in the same period, resulting in a net outward migration of 34,100 people, a marginal fall compared with the previous comparable period. However, 23,000 were Irish nationals.

The emigration crisis is matched by concerns over unemployment levels, particularly long-term unemployment and job prospects for younger people.

A report yesterday by the OECD urged governments around the world to adopt policies that would boost youth employment levels. At home, the CSO National Quarterly Survey showed that 304,500 people were unemployed at the end of June, the highest figure in absolute terms since 1998 and up 10,900 in a year.

The official unemployment rate is now 14.3%, with 54% of those out of work for more than a year.

While the rate of unemployment is slowing slightly the long-term unemployment rate increased from 5.9% to 7.7% over the year to the end of June.

Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association chief executive Mark Fielding said the news on unemployment levels was “not surprising” and companies were under pressure from the so-called black economy.

“It is high time that an employment policy was introduced that goes beyond the mere introduction of training places and Fás courses, and targets instead the core issues preventing employment creation.”

Brid O’Brien, the head of policy at the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed, said the Government had stressed a need to crack down on welfare fraud when instead job creation measures were needed.

“We would be concerned that the culture seems to be dominated by one of enforcement,” she said, adding that more training programmes and internships were needed.

In a striking example of the bleak outlook many young people have of their future in Ireland, Stephen Kinsella, lecturer in economics at the University of Limerick, asked a class of 600 students this week how many intended to emigrate. Most held up their hand.

Picture: 4th year students at UL raise their hands when asked if they intended to emigrate. Picture: Stephen Kinsella

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