Photo: AP Photo/Peter Morrison
Over 87,000 people emigrated from Ireland in the year to April, figures show.The number of people emigrating from Ireland jumped eight per cent in the year to April, it has been revealed.
Statistics from the Irish Central Statistics Office show that 87,100 people left the Emerald Isle in the last financial year – almost two per cent of the entire population.
These figures are the highest since new records began in 1987. 90-two per cent (80,200) of emigrants were under 45, with 41 per cent (35,800) between the ages of 15 and 25. The biggest group (53 per cent) were Irish citizens.
Professor Bronwen Walter, an expert in Irish migration at Anglia Polytechnic University, said that the number of people leaving Ireland today is “far larger than in the previous huge outpourings of the 1950s and late 1980s” – though, as the total population of Ireland has also grown, the proportion of people emigrating is slightly lower.
Ireland has a long history of emigration, but its economic struggles since the global financial crisis of 2008 have triggered even more people to seek their fortunes abroad.
Unemployment in the country, which was forced to seek an €85 billion bail-out in 2010, currently stands at 14.8 per cent, with young people finding it particularly difficult to secure a job. The situation stands in stark contrast to Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” years, the period from the mid-1990s when the economy boomed and many migrants returned.
Carol O’Hanlon, an Irish marketing consultant who is relocating to Britain at the end of the month, said that Ireland’s poor job market was the main reason she and her husband were emigrating.
“The job market is very unstable here, and the country seems to be steeped in negativity,” she said. “Now that we have a small baby we want to make sure he has a better quality of life, in a country where the prospects are better than Ireland.”
The most popular destination for Irish migrants tends to be Britain, with 22 per cent (19,000) of migrants in the year to April resettling there.
Edwina Shanahan, of Dublin-based migration agency VisaFirst, said however that her company also received many enquiries from Irish residents about Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
“The fact people speak English there, and that our skills are often recognised, makes transition to a job in Oz, NZ and Canada relatively easy as opposed to working in France,” she said. “But the key reason is often lifestyle and weather; many want a better way of life for their kids.”
Last week, the hedge fund Toscafund warned that Ireland seemed destined to become a “feeder nation”, reliant on money sent home by workers overseas.
The high level of emigration from Ireland was partially offset by the arrival of 52,700 immigrants. This was a slightly smaller number than the year before, but combined with 74,000 births, helped give the overall population a small boost from 4.57 to 4.59 million.
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