Naughten says emigrating families have lost hope
Former Government TD described as ‘a representative of principle’
Independent TD Denis Naughten says families are moving away permanently as they see no hope in this country. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Irish politics is more focused on tradition and the problems of the past than on creating a future for our people, a former government TD claimed yesterday.
Independent TD Denis Naughten said that the most worrying aspect of our massive emigration figures was the number of families who had decided to move permanently as they see no hope in this country.
“They have lost hope – they do not see a future for their families in Ireland, ” he told a gathering of local people and visiting emigrants at the official opening of the 35th O’Carolan Harp Festival in Keadue Co Roscommon.
Mr Naughten was introduced by master of ceremonies and local business man Oliver McCabe as “a representative of principle who has proven this by the sacrifices he has made for the county of Roscommon and its hinterland”.
Among the participants in the festival parade yesterday was a “skeleton” in a wheelchair “waiting in Sligo A&E” who got a loud cheer as the MC told the crowd that you could die of old age and still not be seen at the hospital. Another popular entry was a horse billed “the burger that got away”.
The annual festival is held in honour of Turlough O’Carolan the blind harper and composer who lived near the village. This year it attracted harp students from Japan, France, Italy, Germany, the UK, the US and all over Ireland.
While the parade also featured “royal babies” and Kate Middletons, as well vintage Massey Ferguson tractors, as The Gathering moved into top gear, much of the focus was on the plight of those forced to emigrate in recent years.
Mr Naughten pointed out that last year more than 200 people a day had left Ireland and these included not just the young and mobile “but whole families, with deep-rooted ties to this country”.
He added: “We are failing to recognise that an economy is there to serve and support a nation; to give people a hand up rather than a hand out; to ensure that our children are provided with the skills to achieve their goals in life”.
Mr Naughten said that in politics today “far more is focused on the tradition and problems of the past”, than on innovation for today.