A generation is leaving on this Government’s watch – O’Brien
Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien tonight claimed that a generation of young people is leaving the state on this government’s watch.
The Cork North-Central TD made the comments in Dáil while opening the debate on his party’s private members motion on youth unemployment and emigration.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“I want to begin this debate with the words of Anthony McDermott - a young man who was forced to emigrate to Australia, he wrote;
“‘Will they meet us on the runway, and welcome us home with great cheers?
“And will the men in power and the bankers, give us back our long, lost years?
“Now my generation’s leaving, a generation going away,
“A generation that didn’t cause this mess, but the generation that has to pay.’
“Minister a generation is leaving. On average last year 1,700 people left every week.
“Since 2011 over a quarter of million people have emigrated. There are more people leaving this state now than any time since the late eighties.
“Of these 70% are in their twenties, 62% are graduates, highly educated young people, the very life blood of this State, a devastating loss to our economic recovery and our future not to mention their families and friends.
“Differing ministers have spoken in the past of the emigration as a choice, as a good thing. They make it sound like it’s a school exchange visit or a year out to party.
“Reports recently published found 39.5% of all recent emigrants would like to return to Ireland in the next three years, however, only 22% see it as likely.
“78% of emigrants do not envisage a return to Ireland in the next three years. That is a damming indictment of this government and the previous government response to emigration.
Minister we have a generation lost.
“A generation seeking only opportunity and work.
“A modest demand. A demand that the government should deliver.
“The response of the government has been to blame the very young people who want to work, who are crying out for further education and training with the real prospect of employment at the end of it all.”