Rhetoric and reality for Irish emigrants


Sir, – I’m writing this as I wait to board yet another flight back to London, leaving home and family behind for the fourth year in a row.

I feel a particular sense of frustration on this occasion for a number of reasons. But top of the list is the recent experience I had in search of my first house.

Last year I approached every bank in Ireland in an effort to purchase a buy-to-let property, with a view to moving home shortly thereafter. Not surprisingly, I was offered 3½ times my base salary and a requirement to put down a 30 per cent deposit. No recognition by any institution was given to my bonus, which makes up approximately half of my total compensation. Recently updated rules have made no material difference.

Why is it that I could get a mortgage in London within a 10-minute phone call offering me six times my base salary and three times my bonus? Same person, same job, same circumstances. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but the gap between what I was deemed to be able to afford in Ireland and the UK is monumental.

I am 29, a qualified chartered accountant working in banking, with a perfect credit history and good prospects. I would say I’m a fairly safe bet (I hope).

I have now bought a house in London that will likely prolong my stay in the English capital. Instead, I could have had a home waiting for me in Ireland.

I would urge the Irish Government to give our banks flexibility when assessing cases such as mine. Because instead of giving my money to an Irish bank it has ended up with Barclays UK, with which I have no appetite for building a long-term relationship.

A lot of rhetoric is written about Ireland’s diaspora. But this is a real and tangible area that can be leveraged to get “us” back home and contributing to the Irish economy (even more important with Brexit on the horizon).

There is a pool of young and motivated Irish emigrants within a very small radius across the Irish Sea. More should be done to connect with these people and incentivise them to come home. – Yours, etc,