Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

As Ireland slides deeper into a recession, its workers are returning to the emigration trail that blighted the nation for 150 years until the Celtic Tiger economic boom of the 1990s. With the Dublin-based Economic and Social Research Institute forecasting that 50,000 people will leave in search of work, the country is facing what former Prime Minister Bertie Ahern calls the “dark days” of mass exodus again.

. . .

Even so, there’s little likelihood of the wholesale exodus that marred earlier decades. Between 1871 and 1961, Ireland’s population shrank 36 percent to 2.8 million people. In the 1980s, an average 20,000 people left the country every year, departing for the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

. . .

Moreover, many of the traditional destinations for the Irish -- including the U.S, Australia and the U.K. -- are struggling with rising unemployment.

“The difficulty is that today, there’s nowhere to go,” said John Graby, director of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland. “Even Australia seems to be going downhill. I heard of an Irish architect who sent an e-mail home saying he got the last job in Brisbane.”

The rest is here.

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