Irish emigrant says Nigerians should send as much money home as they like
‘Myself and my brother sent money home from England...it was the responsibility of those who left’
Galway TD Noel Grealish. Boddy Ward’s comments after Mr Grealish raised questions in the Dáil over the amount of money sent home by Nigerian people living in Ireland. File photograph: Alan Betson
A Galway man who emigrated to England in the 1950s says foreign nationals living in Ireland should be free to send as much money home to their families as they like.
Boddy Ward, who left his home in Ballygar in east Galway in 1956, said it was the responsibility of people who left Ireland in the 50s and 60s to support those at home.
Mr Ward worked in construction in Coventry and London for decades, and sent money to his parents regularly before buying a house and a plot of land for their retirement in Galway.
His comments came days after Galway TD Noel Grealish raised questions in the Dáil over the amount of money sent home by Nigerian people living in Ireland.
“There should be freedom for all when it comes to this. We had to leave Ireland, so I’m not going to run down people who had to leave their own countries and come to Ireland,” Mr Ward said.
“I never thought I’d see the day that we’d have employment like this in Ireland and people coming to Ireland looking for work. It’s fantastic. We’ve a small country – let’s hope it lasts forever. I can’t be against it in any way in the world.”
Mr Ward, who still lives in Coventry with his wife, Madge, was 18 when he left Ireland in 1956 and started his first job within three hours of arriving in England. He was hired by Coen Plastering, a company founded by Mayo man Gerard Coen, and worked for them for more than 40 years.
He said he was made feel very welcome by English people.
“Myself and my brother sent money home all the time, of course we did. We did the best we could to help. After a few years I was able to buy a small holding for my mam and dad. That’s were they finished up.
“It was the responsibility of those who left to look after the people at home if they could. The people who could did everything they could for the people left at home.
“Some people couldn’t look after themselves, not to mind sending money home. They might have liked the drink too much. If things go wrong for you, it’s very hard to get back up on your feet.
“People could be sending money home for years and years. It depended on the people. When you got married, and had your own family to look after, it would generally ease off.”