Leaving Ireland…again

The Irish Independent ended the year with a story featuring the latest emigration figures.

More than 200 people a day left Ireland during 2012, as emigration surged to levels not experienced since the famine…Some 87,000 people emigrated from Ireland in the year to April 2012, three times as many as the annual exodus during the [Celtic Tiger] boom years.

The story was based on a September release from the Central Statistics Office.

Britain, Australia and Canada are top destinations for the emigrants. The United States also remains a strong draw for the Irish, though a few living here have become skeptical about life in America. Here’s part of one reader post in the Independent story:

For any young Irish lad or lass listening now I have one bit of advice to you all. Go to anywhere, I mean anywhere else, but not the USA. Economy here is still finding it hard to provide jobs to the unemployed.

This new year of 2013 is the centennial of my maternal grandfather’s emigration from County Kerry in May 1913. Weeks before he boarded a steamer at Queenstown (Cobh), The Kerry News published an editorial under the headline, “Still Going.” It referenced a report showing that nearly 30,000 people left Ireland the previous year, two thirds of them sailing to the United States.

The emigration returns prove very clearly that our young people cannot find work and must go to places where they will get work and decent wages. They must face risks and hardships, but it is better to face them than remain in slavery and poverty all their lives.

History repeats itself. Happy New Year.