One in four have had family member emigrate

More than 300,000 people have left the country over the last four years, National Youth Council of Ireland survey finds

The National Youth Council of Ireland have called on the Government to appoint a dedicated minister to take responsibility for emigration policy and the Irish abroad. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The National Youth Council of Ireland have called on the Government to appoint a dedicated minister to take responsibility for emigration policy and the Irish abroad. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

One in four Irish people have had a close family member emigrate in the last two years, according to a new survey.

Half of those still living in Ireland aged 18 to 24 have considered emigrating, while four in 10 adults aged 25 to 34 have thought about moving abroad, the Red C poll for the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) found.

When asked what the primary factor motivating them to emigrate would be, 43 per cent of those considering it cited the hope for better employment opportunities abroad, while a further 41 per cent said they would go because they have no work in Ireland.

Just 10 per cent said they would leave to experience living abroad, while 1 per cent said they would go to study, and a further 1 per cent because of the weather.

When asked whether the Government was addressing the issue of youth unemployment adequately, 83 per cent disagreed, while 85 per cent said not enough was being done to tackle the problem of youth emigration.

The survey forms part of a major new study on youth emigration to be published by the NYCI today, which explores the experiences of Irish people aged 18 to 30 who have moved to Canada and the UK in the last two years.

Of the 308,000 people who left Ireland in the four years to April 2012, 41 per cent are in the 15 to 24 age bracket.

The NYCI is calling on the Government to appoint a dedicated minister with responsibility for emigration policy and the Irish abroad, and to fund an existing agency in Ireland to provide assistance to prospective emigrants before they leave.

“Over 300,000 people have left the country over the last four years since the crisis, most of them young. We need to support them to make informed choices if they are going to places like Australia or Canada, or other parts of the world,” said NYCI assistant director James Doorley.

“It shouldn’t be the case that once they leave the airports here in Ireland that they are forgotten about.”