Generation Emigration: ‘What has been most striking is the positivity’
Contributors to Generation Emigration have shown a resolute determination, despite difficult circumstances, to take control of their futures and get on with creating a better life for themselves and their families, writes Ciara Kenny.
With more than 100 people leaving Ireland every day last year and no sign of the outflow abating, there is no doubt that emigration has become a defining theme of our times. Through Generation Emigration, we have shared the stories of hundreds of these recent emigrants, many of whom have involuntarily left loved ones and loved places behind.
The circumstances of their departure are often difficult and sometimes heartbreaking; but what has been most striking about the series as a whole is the positivity that shines through.
Contributors have shown a resolute determination, despite difficult circumstances, to take control of their futures and get on with creating a better life for themselves and their families, even if that life is far away from what they have always known as “home”.
The majority of recent emigrants surveyed by Ipsos/MRBI for The Irish Times in March reported being happier than they were in Ireland, with better jobs, a healthier lifestyle and an ability to save money every month. More than half of them had emigrated vountarily, and almost all of those who were unemployed before they left Ireland had managed to find work. For many, especially the young, the opportunity to live and work abroad is embraced for the adventure and life experience it brings.
One entrant to The Irish Times “Why you love where you live” competition for emigrants recently summed up the attitude of many of the people we have spoken to over the past nine months. From his new home in Dubai, James Taplin sees a future for himself and his young family, a future that was obscured by unemployment and debt in Ireland. Leaving that unhappiness behind has given him “a reason to prosper and a desire to succeed”. It would be difficult to find a more emphatic declaration of positivity against the odds.
This piece appeared as part of a feature about positivity by Maureen Gaffney in last Saturday’s Weekend review in The Irish Times. Read the full article here.