The tide turns

Though the forced emigration of a person, a son or a daughter, is often distressing for a family the impact of one person’s leave taking may not always have a huge impact on their community.

However, as many emigrants, especially young people in their 20s, return for Christmas holidays and come together in clubs or bars the cumulative impression is chastening. Whole swathes of a generation reunited for a few short days, coming together while the ties that bind are still strong enough to bring them together if only for a few fleeting hours.

Even in a country where emigration is a constant, a never-ending exodus intensified at times of economic distress, just tolerable at times of plenty, the emigration of recent years is a heartbreaking drain.

Therefore figures from the Economic and Social Research Institute that suggest that the number of people emigrating has fallen significantly are very welcome. The ESRI expects 78,000 people to have left the country in the year to April next, a 14% drop on the previous year’s figure of 89,000.

Of course it is easy to interpret these figures cynically, saying there’s no-one left here who might emigrate, but a reversal in these figures is always welcome, no matter how it is achieved.


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