‘I’ve never felt settled in Australia. It is time to move back’
Readers respond to CSO figures showing drop in emigration and rise in returns
Aoife Doran is moving back to Ireland with her Australian husband Josh and their son Finn.
Eimear Phelan from Co Galway emigrated to Spain in October 2015, where she is teaching English.
Dale McDermott is moving to Toronto.
The Central Statistics Office published new figures on Tuesday showing 31,800 Irish people emigrated in the 12 months to April 2016, while 21,100 returned to live here from abroad. Irish Times readers have been sending us their stories and reaction to the new statistics.
Aoife Doran, Brisbane: ‘I’ve never felt settled in Australia. It is time to move back’
I moved to Australia nine years ago before there was really talk of a recession. I was a young 20-year-old just wanting to travel the world. It was never my plan to be away for so many years, but after meeting my Australian husband and the recession taking over in Ireland, moving home was not an option.
I am preparing to move home from Brisbane to Dublin next year, nearly 10 years after I left, with my husband Josh and little boy Finn.
We both are hospitality managers in Australia and financially we're probably crazy. We will be taking a 70 per cent pay cut, and the cost of car insurance for us now will be astronomical. We will also have to live with my parents in Shankill until we can find somewhere to rent, but at the end of the day, home is home. I want to raise my son in Ireland surrounded by family, and in an environment I feel is the best for him.
I have never felt truly settled here in Australia, and am homesick more often than not. For me, the time difference is the hardest part of being so far away. It’s time for me to come back home and as daunting and nerve-wracking it is, I am excited.
Eimear Phelan, Spain: ‘Being a new graduate with no experience made it impossible to get work’
I took economics for the leaving cert in 2009 just as the bottom dropped out of the market and my parents became increasingly squeezed. I studied Keynes as I watched the jobs we had all been promised dry up, leaving only uncertainty.
Considering the time, I got off lightly. I got my degree in journalism and a few jobs afterwards in my field. But being a new graduate with no experience made it impossible to get work I wanted that paid enough to buy my groceries each week. I was working in retail when I was contacted about a job in Spain.
The hours and the pay were much the same as I had been working, and I just couldn’t see why not, with much lower living costs over there. When again am I going to get the opportunity to do something completely different?
So I moved home for a month, took out a loan from my parents, and qualified as a TEFL teacher. Two days after I completed the course in October 2015 I moved to Spain. I have committed to a second year teaching English this year but I know in my heart it’s not what I want to do forever.
I am trying to upskill in my free time and hone skills that will be useful to me in the future so I don’t have to enter the Irish jobs market again with no experience.
I do wonder about the people who want us young people to stay in Ireland. Just what is being done to help them upskill and train for jobs they actually want, especially in the west of Ireland?
Maria O’Donnell, UK: ‘My 22-year-old son has just moved to Dublin’
I left Ireland in 1986 when Garrett Fitzgerald offered a year out to public sector workers with a guaranteed job on return. So I left the Eastern Health Board after five years, and came to London. My mother has never forgiven him.
I met my husband, who is of half Irish descent, in the first month. We are married now 26 years. Although I’m not moving back myself (just yet at least), my 22-year-old son has just moved to Dublin. He loves it but is finding it hard to get work. My 24-year-old son is in Sydney at the moment but is intending to go to Trinity next year to study Philosophy and English. I know of other 2nd generation Irish who have moved ‘home’, so perhaps statistics on them would be interesting too.
Dale McDermott: ‘I will be moving to Toronto with no job, no accommodation and few friends’
I have a great job, good friends and a very supportive family in Ireland. So why am I leaving? Like many young Irish people, I lack an international experience. My summer breaks between college terms were always taken up either working to fund my next year of college, or interning at an accounting firm. I was also president of Young Fine Gael.
Having worked for a year and tried to settle, but the prospect of 40+ years of work ahead prompted me to take a break and travel. My lack of an international experience is something I have wanted to change for a long time. I have been told by friends and colleagues who have travelled, that the more we travel and become exposed to different people and ways of thinking, the more we will develop personally and professionally.
I have chosen to go to Canada because it is extremely forward thinking. Its leader, Justin Trudeau, holds a modern vision and has put LGBT rights at the forefront of his political agenda, something that is very close to my heart. I visited Canada earlier this year, which confirmed my desire to live and work there. I will be moving to the great and inclusive city of Toronto with no job, no accommodation and few friends in the city. This sounds daunting, and to be honest, the more I think about it the more I fear. But, in the end, why fear it? Three possible outcomes can occur: 1 - I hate it and want to come home. 2 - I find myself and fall in love with another place in the world that makes me more happy and fulfilled. 3 - I loved my experiences and memories from abroad but nothing can replace home and I will return.
I leave Ireland by choice because I feel this is something I must do, and I will not let fear stop me from doing it. Most of all though, I am very excited to start a new chapter in my life.
Tomás Swinburne, Beijing: ‘I don’t want to pay €8,500 for a Master’s in a country that will have no opportunities for me’
As our economy gets better, we are going to be seeing more highly skilled Irish emigrants returning to our shores. While numbers of emigrants are dropping, they are still pretty high compared to the influx of Irish coming home from abroad. I argue there shouldn’t be any stigma about going abroad. The world is tiny, don’t let people fool you.
To give you a feeling of how small the world is I need to tell you about one weird night out in Beijing. I met an Irish couple in a bar in the middle of nowhere. We chatted for ages and they told me they were teaching in China and were soon to return home. I found out a few months later that the one of the couple, Tara, was in fact a relative. I’m not sure what the possibility is for bumping into a relative in a city of 21 million people is, but it is probably astronomical.
In a few weeks I will be travelling to Taipei to begin my Master’s in Communications studies. I was awarded a scholarship from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education and I will not have to worry about tuition and rent. As much as I might miss friends and family, this is a better option than paying €8,500 for a Master’s in a country that will have no opportunities for someone like me.