‘Here the opportunities are endless. If I went home I’d be on the dole again’

Politics graduate estimates at least half of his Leaving Cert class have emigrated

Jamie Ralph left Ireland for London a day after graduating with a Masters in politics from UCC in February.

Jamie Ralph left Ireland for London a day after graduating with a Masters in politics from UCC in February.


After two years of fruitless job searching, Jamie Ralph left Ireland for London last February. The 25-year-old from Tuam in Co Galway had just graduated from University College Cork with a Masters in politics. He had spent the previous year doing unpaid internships and looking for permanent work.

“I began sending CVs speculatively to employers in London as I had heard stories of other Irish graduates who had no problem securing employment in the UK. From the beginning I was getting a much more enthusiastic response from employers than I had been getting in Ireland,” he says.

“My girlfriend has just graduated as a nurse and had job offers from recruitment agencies in London to work for a much higher salary than the new HSE recruitment scheme that was offering graduate nurses a very low wage. It became a no-brainer.”

He chose London because of the good employment prospects, the lack of a language barrier and a long history in his family of emigrating to London. He now works as communications officer for an organisation representing GPs in London.

“I’m going to try build a career here as the opportunities are endless. At some stage I would love to be able to be successful in Ireland but at the moment it’s impossible. If I went home now, or in the next couple of years, I’d be signing on the dole again.”

Emigration figures
He is not surprised by the figures published yesterday by the Central Statistics Office which show the number of Irish people emigrating continued to rise in the 12 months to April.

“When I was queuing for my flight to London there was quite a few other families saying goodbye to loved ones. It’s a common sight on every flight out of Ireland these days.

“I would estimate at least half of my Leaving Cert class have emigrated, mostly to Australia, the US and Canada. Out of her five grandchildren, my 92-year-old grandmother has only one grandchild left in Ireland.”