An Irish emigration story: From Waterford to Sydney [audio]

Debbie Ridgard

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Plane, photo credit: Kim Siever
Plane, photo credit: Kim Siever

The 2008 Irish recession saw almost 30% of Irish youths unemployed, at it’s peak. This huge number resulted in a generational emigration, as the economic collapse resulted in a dramatically shrunken jobs market and a decrease in wages.

Although a large number of these Irish citizens have returned to Ireland, it has sparked a “travel bug” among the generation.

Jamie, a psychiatric nurse leaving Ireland in search of better job opportunities explained his reason for leaving his homeland:- “I always wanted to travel and experience different world cultures and after seeing my friends enjoy time abroad, I felt as though it was my time to give it a go”.

Mr. Hurley along with his two friends,  Jason Ridgard and Gary O’Shea, spoke to the Circular before their journey to a new life in Australia.

Irish emigrants have become the topic of conversation once again, due to the implementations of the recent immigrant embargo in the United States of America which this week, saw an undocumented Galway immigrant being detained in Boston and now faces deportation to Ireland.

Despite growing concerns for Irish expats in America and signs of economic recovery in Ireland, high numbers of Irish citizens continue to emigrate from this small island.

The Central Statistics office revealed in 2016 that for the second year in a row, the return of net inward migration in Ireland. However, closer inspection shows that although the overall number of Irish nationals returning to their homeland has increased, the number of people aged 25-44 leaving the Emerald Isle has increased.

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Debbie Ridgard