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Government launches 'The Gathering' while ‘The Scattering’ continues apace -Tóibín

31 December, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Figures released from the Central Statistics Office show that 238 people a day left Ireland during 2012, as emigration surged to levels not experienced since the famine. 

Meath West TD and Sinn féin spokesperson for enterprise trade and employment, Peadar Tóibín, said that while the government is launching 'The Gathering' the reality is that ‘The Scattering’ of Irish people across the globe continues apace. 

“This is a disastrous situation for tens of thousands of families who have been forced to up sticks and separate from their extended families.

“Many of these people will be boarding planes and boats and returning abroad after the Christmas. Emigration is also having a detrimental effect on the society that's being left behind. The 15-24 age group is shrinking significantly here in Ireland.

“In 2006 there were 638,000 people of this age group in the country. In January 2012 the number had fallen by 130,000, almost all accounted for by emigration.

“In the years leading up to crash, there were about 325,000 employed under-25s in the State. That has reduced to 130,000. For every 10 jobs that existed at the beginning of 2008, six have disappeared. Emigration is also taking its toll on the Irish birth rate. There were 1,200 fewer born in 2011 than the previous year mostly due to the high emigration rate amongst young mothers.

“These shocking numbers are a direct outcome of this government’s economic policy. The Fine Gael/Labour government is committed to one priority and that is the repayment of private debt. The debt collector is being paid but whole sections of society are being deleted from before our eyes. Unbridled austerity without stimulus and investment is ravaging the most vulnerable and sending our young people abroad.” 

Deputy Tóibín is calling for the issue of emigration to be put front and centre in economic policy debate in 2013 and is calling for those emigrants that have returned for Christmas to get involved in the campaign and sign up to the Irish Emigrants Speak Up Page.

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