‘We have been forced to look abroad for the basic right to work’
‘Ireland and Me’: Diarmuid Farrell, Daegu, South Korea
Diarmuid Farrell: ‘The young are the lifeblood of any small community and Lanesboro, like any other village, has suffered horribly from emigration.’
Having lived in Daegu, a city in the South East of Korea, for a year, I decided to take a trip back home to Ireland last August. My first weekend back in Lanesboro, Co Longford happened to be on the August Bank Holiday weekend, and all my friends were around.
It was great to be home, to all the things and people I missed during my time in the Land of the Morning Calm. It was fantastic to see my friends and catch up face to face; Facebook is just not the same.
But during my time at home, I realised something was badly amiss. Where were all the young people? Almost all my friends had to travel back to their new places of living on the Bank Holiday Monday for work on Tuesday morning. There is no work for them in the town that reared them, or even in nearby bigger urban centres such as Longford and Roscommon town. Simply put, there is no reason for them to live in Lanesboro.
And this is the real tragedy of the recession. Towns like Lanesboro, a beautiful, picturesque place, cannot take care of their young people. We have been forced to look further afield for a basic right: the right to work. The young are the lifeblood of any small community and Lanesboro, like any other village, has suffered horribly from emigration. Without young people, places like Lanesboro face stagnation and decay, and that is a worrying thing.
Rural Ireland suffers from a lack of infrastructure after years of underinvestment, even when times were good. Public transport services and broadband in many areas are extremely poor. The only alternative for young people is to up sticks and leave.
I love my hometown very much and it saddens me to see its current plight. I would love to return and settle there but I know deep down that I will not be able to because of the lack of career opportunities.
But I will always be a native of Lanesboro and proud of it. No matter where you are, you always carry a piece of your hometown in you and I am no different, proud to represent Lanesboro wherever I go.
I think that is the beauty of growing up in a small village in Ireland; that pride that’s forever instilled in oneself about where they are from.