the gathering

Someone emigrates from Ireland every 5 minutes..

..and the typical emigrant is Irish and aged between 15 and 24, according to this morning’s CSO report.

One person emigrated from Ireland every 6 minutes in the twelve month period to April 2013.

Today, someone emigrates every 5 minutes, if the trends since 2006 are anything to go by (as detailed in an interactive infographic I blogged about here)


Figures via

Trends also suggest that emigrants are becoming less likely to return to Ireland in the near future.

89,000 people emigrated from Ireland in the twelve months before April 2013.

57.2% (50,900) of these were Irish.

Those under the age of 25 comprised the largest group emigrating, at 47% of the total figures, or 41,600 people.

“Significant Increase in Net Emigration”


Figures via

The report noted that the net emigration among Irish nationals has ‘increased significantly, rising from 25,900 in 2012 to 35,200 in 2013.

This is an increase of 35% in the number of Irish people who are leaving the country and are not being replaced by other Irish people returning.

The overall net emigration was 33,100 (due to the immigration of other nationalities).

Again, the largest age group in the net emigration figures are those under the age of 25.

21,800 more young people aged between 15 – 24 left Ireland in 2012 than returned.

The net emigration figures for the past four years have been steadily increasing, as the figures from today’s report show.

2010 was the first time that our overall emigration outweighed immigration since 1995, and even then net emigration was a mere 1,900.

Net emigration has not been so high (ie over 4000) nor occurring for as many consecutive years since the period between 1987 and 1990.

(1987 is as far back as today’s report goes.)

source: Table 1 Components of the annual population change, 1987 - 2013 of CSO Population and Migration Estimates, released 29 August

source: Table 1 Components of the annual population change, 1987 – 2013 of CSO Population and Migration Estimates, released 29 August

72,400 young people aged between 15 and 24 have emigrated without being replaced by immigrants, i.e. 59% of the total.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going – we Irish are a hard-working bunch.

In Ireland at the moment more and more jobs are becoming absorbed by the JobBridge scheme. In order to be eligible, you must be continually unemployed for three months and in receipt of the dole. As the numbers show, rather than wait around in the hope that jobs will stop becoming absorbed by this scheme, young Irish people are instead emigrating to all over the world, from where they are becoming increasingly unlikely to return.

The National Youth Council of Ireland’s 2013 Report (pdf here) is a very thorough report which surveyed many young Irish people who have emigrated.

These young Irish people had the following recommendations for the government:

  • Plan for the future and provide incentives to attract emigrants to return to Ireland when the labour market has recovered.

  • Track and profile those leaving the country – collect data on who they are and where they are going?

  • Connect and engage with the Irish Diaspora particularly those leaving the country at the present time.

I’m glad to see that this year the CSO for the first time included information on the destinations of our emigrants, and I hope it will continue to collect even more data about our emigrants.

I have mentioned before my anger at seeing my tax money being used to promote The Gathering, which asks me tauntingly who I would like to invite home.

I’m sure many other Irish taxpayers would support our taxes being used to prioritise youth employment. In fact, I can’t see any downside for our politicians to prioritise this at all.

One of our Ministers recently told an Australian audience that it is the “present government’s ambition” that “hopefully some..young people will have the opportunity to return to Ireland”, “now that we are on a recovery trajectory”.

I look forward to hearing the government’s response to today’s report, I hope that their ‘ambition’ has changed into a more concrete ‘goal’ and commitment.

I encourage other young people like myself to speak up and ask for a response, should one not be forthcoming.

Journalists, take note – I think this is much more relevant to a lot of people than whether or not Brian Cowen feels offended by pen pictures he was awarded with in the past. As one in four households across the country has been affected by emigration, articles on the government’s response to today’s report will reward you with plenty of site traffic and interesting comments, if you choose to enable this feature. You are also guaranteed engagement with our new diaspora members, and as the NYCI report shows, they are eager to engage with their home country that they’ve been forced to leave.

The CSO Report is available online here


A Day in the Life in Ireland

My work day begins like any other – I’m busy responding to queries and meeting requests in my minimum-wage office job with ever increasing responsibilities. In this economy, you are grateful to have work in a field you love as a graduate – the onus is on you to reap the opportunities such positions proffer. Mid morning I notice a text message from a long number with an unfamiliar area code. It transpires that my latest friend to leave home has procured an Australian mobile number and is checking in to let me know, as his Irish sim will expire soon. Initially happy to hear from him, my mood falters a little when I confess that my biggest news since we last spoke is that one of our few remaining friends here at home has just handed in her notice to her JobBridge placement with the intention of heading to London. Armed with a degree and a masters, she plans to progress her career and not have to work two jobs to get by over there. “She’s dead right,” he replies, and I agree.

Smiling at my friend’s excited anticipation of heading to a shooting range for the first time, I’m transported to Australia as we chat while I head to the ATM on my lunch break. What greets me is a slap in the face that jolts me back home.

Who would I like to invite home for the Gathering? My hand freezes half way to selecting ‘withdraw €10′ . I can’t take my eyes away from the photograph of young women my age smiling over drinks. My friends are now scattered across the world – San Francisco, London, Brussels, Spain, Australia and even New Zealand. My tax money has paid for this ad, I realise. My friends’ tax money has paid for this ad.  With a lump in my throat, and brimming with anger, I join my colleagues for lunch. I am unusually silent throughout, and make an excuse to leave earlier than usual. I think of my friends, all asking me for the news from home. They tell me hearing that home is not the same is no consolation, as it means that even if they could realize their fantasy to return it would not be to the same home that they left. I don’t know what to tell them, other than make new Skype dates, post more packages and renew my promise to come see them as soon as I can.

A few evenings later, towards the end of the night I am chatting with a friend who’s home for a short visit. There is a pause in our conversation, during which she takes a deep breath, looks me in the eye and declares “I probably wouldn’t be saying this to you if I wasn’t a little drunk – but I really think you need to leave this city – there  isn’t anything for you here. I love this place, it’s a great city, and I want to come back and raise my family here in a few more years, but even if you do get work – there are no people our age left here.” She gazes up and down the busy streets as if to prove her point and, I have to admit by doing so, she does.

As it happens, I am an avid traveller – but I am probably still here as I am also a stubborn optimist. I would love to be able to stay and become a bigger part of the place that I have grown up in. Perhaps the time has come to be a realist. I have to come to terms with the fact that my Irish sim will be more than likely be expiring soon too. In the meantime I hope to maintain this blog as an ongoing update to my friends, who, as recent graduates in the past few years, have all become reluctant members of the famous Irish diaspora.

This is how it is at home lads – they said to tell ye that ye’re all welcome back for The Gathering.