Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

“I emigrated when I had a choice because what was happening was untenable”

Disillusioned with life in Ireland during the boom, Aidan Boyce emigrated to France before moving again to the US.

Mon, Nov 14, 2011, 14:19


Aidan at Croke Park with his brother Ger, nephew Ronan and son Kotaro

Disillusioned with life in Ireland during the boom, Aidan Boyce emigrated to France before moving again to the US.

I was born in 1974. Growing up in Ireland, we were all very much aware that there were not many opportunities in our own country. From a very young age we watched the news as children and saw the annual migrations at the airport, the tears and the sobbing. We all knew that there was no easy cash, we were not living in a country full of opportunities, and hard work and education were the only currency we had.
So subsequently we worked hard and went to college. A large proportion of my secondary school graduation class (1992) went into engineering and science courses. And then the strangest thing happened, like mushrooms pushing through damp and muddy soil, jobs and companies started to push up all over the country, real jobs making real products. Like a lot of Asian countries at the time we had invested in the right things – people and education. We were a young and well educated country, and even better we were in the EU.

So for the first time in a long time, Irish people had a choice whether to stay or go. Those who stayed were viciously betrayed by Fianna Fail. The Bacon report which had removed mortgage interest relief for landlords and stabilised the property market was thrown in the dustbin, and the subsequent lunacy and crushing of an entire generation was foretold.

I left Ireland in 2000 because I knew what was happening was untenable. Paying 8 times my salary for a tiny 3 bedroom semi-d lost in the wastelands of the Leixlip/Lucan/Maynooth conurbation was not what I had worked hard for. I wanted more and I knew that hard work was no longer a commodity that was valued much in Ireland. It seemed that developers, brokers and lawyers were the only people that mattered in the country according to Fianna Fail.

Housing prices were rising 12% or more a year, and the government did not have the sense or wit to realise that productivity was not rising that fast. What happened was an abject failure by the politicians of all parties and the media to listen to the lone voices that raised concerns, and by all accounts those who did were silenced or censored by “senior figures” in their respective spheres.

I left and lived in France for a 8 years before moving to the US. I miss Ireland, I miss my family, I miss my friends, but I cannot move back. The person I am now is not the same as the person who left.