Joe Behan - Independent Councillor - Wicklow County Council

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Bring Them Home

Archive Statements > 2015

Bring Them Home
December 2015

Many families in County Wicklow will have an empty chair at their Christmas table this year. This is because so many of our brightest and best young people have been forced out of this country to find work during the past 5 years. They have had to emigrate to the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand and other parts of the world to find work and their absence will cause a lot of sadness for their parents and families this Christmas.

The Central Statistics Office has confirmed that in the years from 2011 to 2015 we lost nearly 500,000 people to emigration. This is a staggering figure and represents a damning indictment of those who govern this country. It is comparable to the mass exodus of people during the famine times and just because communications are easier now it doesn’t change the fact that many families including those in Wicklow are being torn apart by the necessity for our people to move abroad to find work.

In another devastating finding, the CSO has stated that, almost 350,000 emigrants were between the ages of 15 and 45 yrs, in other words people at the prime of their lives and now effectively gone from their families and the nation. The vast majority of these young people are highly educated and their skills, talents and qualifications are now being used for the benefit of other countries who are, no doubt, very happy to have them.

This shocking and disgraceful state of affairs should be remembered every time a Government Spokesperson from Fine Gael or Labour mentions the great success they have been in Government. The economy may be recovering a little thanks to the enormous sacrifices of the Irish people but what kind of success is it when half a million of our people have had to leave our shores, many of whom will settle abroad and will only return as visitors.

I am calling for a renewed commitment by all politicians to say it is not too late to encourage our emigrants to return again to Ireland. The Government should redouble its efforts to build lasting employment for all our young people. There should be an immediate resettlement grant and emigrant tax relief system drawn up to make it possible for our emigrants to return home and begin working again in the Irish economy. We need to bring our highly educated and highly motivated people back home and if we did Christmas would be a happier time for all in County Wicklow and throughout our nation.

Joe Behan
Independent Candidate for Wicklow/East Carlow.

Serving the people of County Wicklow since 1985 |

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