‘The recession changed the course of my life forever’
The Crash – 10 years on: The downturn sparked a wave of emigration. How did they fare in their new lives? And will they return?
Over the past decade, 356,600 Irish-born people have emigrated. Photograph: iStock
Michael Noonan’s quip in 2012 about emigration being a “free choice of lifestyle” for young people must be one of the most defining quotes of the recession. He was slammed from all sides for the remark, which outraged so many people who felt they had no choice but to leave to find work abroad to service debts and save their sanity as the downturn deepened.
Over the past decade, 356,600 Irish-born people have emigrated. Looking at the migration figures (see graph), it is glaringly obvious what impact the recession had on the flow of people in and out of Ireland.