THE hope that most of those young people who emigrated in the last decade to find work will, sooner or later, return to Ireland burns brightly in many a parent’s heart, even if they won’t give voice to that hope in case they jeopardise it.
Many of those parents will have watched the Jack Grealish saga, one that came to an end when the footballer declared for England, the country of his birth, rather than Ireland, the country of his father’s birth. Some will wonder if Ireland can ever seem attractive enough to those enjoying lifestyles that could not be replicated here, materially at least. Others will wonder if, as Grealish concluded, the ties that bind are not as strong as the ties that sustain and enrich.
Irish sport has long been well-served by the children of immigrants, but now we may have to look to the children of immigrants born here — the likes of rugby star Simon Zebo — to represent us. As we wish Grealish the best, what a mouth-watering prospect that opportunity offers, especially as anything that makes Ireland stronger makes it more attractive — even for those forced to emigrate and who wish to return.
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