Top stories from Irish Times Abroad this week

‘In the Middle East I earn double’: Emigrant nurses on why they left Ireland

 

A belated happy new year to all our Irish Times Abroad readers. We’ve been taking a bit of a breather after a hectic Christmas, so this first digest of the year is even more packed than usual with a selection of the best stories from the past three weeks.

Why does the Irish health service have such a big problem recruiting and retaining staff? As talks take place with nursing unions this week in an attempt to avert strike action over pay, we asked Irish-trained nurses now living abroad why they left Ireland, and what needs to change to bring them back. “Every day I comfort junior nurses who are crying because of the conditions, for both patients and nurses. I’m getting out because I know there is something better out there,” writes one nurse who recently returned to Ireland from Sydney, but has decided to leave again. The article is the most-read on irishtimes.com right now.

Also popular this week was Paul Gillick’s story about leaving Dublin where he worked as a lawyer, for a new life with his partner in Auckland, where he has become a yoga teacher: “With each year, you become more settled in your adopted home, but as a consequence lose a bit of your connection to Ireland. It is a constant tension, a push and pull,” he writes.

We’ve published some fascinating Extraordinary Emigrants profiles over the past few weeks, including the stories of the ‘Irish Tinker Lady’ Margaret Barry, who took to the roads of Ireland as a 16-year-old in the 1930s to make her living as a street singer, and ended up sharing a billing at the 1965 Newport Festival with Joan Baez and Bob Dylan; and of Monaghan-born Mary Lee, who became one of the most prominent Australian suffragists, and campaigner for the rights of working women and asylum residents.

If you’ve had children while living abroad, Deirdre Ryan’s piece on how becoming a parent has changed her perspective on living away from friends and family in Ireland might resonate with you too; and if you have any emotional capacity left after reading that, watch Bryan O’Brien’s lovely video capturing the tearful goodbyes at Dublin airport earlier this month as emigrants left family and friends behind to return abroad after Christmas.

You’ll find plenty more stories by and about the Irish diaspora this week on irishtimes.com/abroad.

To receive this digest to your inbox each week, you can join the free Irish Times Abroad Network here.

Thanks for reading.

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