Leaving Ireland, but through choice

After graduation, London

The third guest post in this series on what Irish people think about the country’s economic turmoil comes from Fionnuala Barrett (22), an undergraduate student from Dublin.  She plans to move to London after graduation next year. Her blog, about music, books, film, craft and other things, is called  Basil Exposition.

“It’s one thing to have had unrelenting negativity pouring out of the Irish Times every time I’ve opened it in the past eighteen months – we are famously a nation of moaners and begrudgers, after all – but to have Ireland’s desperate fiscal situation feature as the top news story on the Guardian’s website or (far worse) as the first headline on the BBC News at Ten – that is a different kettle of fish altogether. For all that the fiscal situation here has been bleak, and for a significant amount of time at that, there has been a different atmosphere about the last few weeks with talk of the bailout of the country from the IMF. It’s all getting that bit more serious.

I say this as a young person who fully intends to emigrate on graduation in 2011 (touch wood). This is not a saddening decision for me, mostly because I feel it is my own decision – I want to see the world before I settle down – rather than a move foisted upon me by economic necessity. But my own positivity about moving away does not mean that I think emigration en masse is desirable, or that government policy should rely on it, as it currently does. If nothing else, it seems a shameful waste of a long-term investment to allow or encourage graduates to emigrate, when the cost of their education has been bankrolled in the past decade by the taxpayer, without saying anything more about the stagnating social and political effects of losing the brightest and best of our young people to other countries.

I’m not even all that optimistic about my own chances after leaving the sinking ship. It perturbs me that the UK, where I’m planning to go, is following in Ireland’s footsteps in pursuing a heavy cuts agenda. I don’t pretend to any great economic understanding, but I pay some attention to the advice of experts when they appear in the media and, if anything they’ve been saying has got through to me, it’s that you can’t cut your way out of a recession.”

4 Responses to “Leaving Ireland, but through choice”
  1. Katerina says:

    This is a really good point – small countries are always more extrovert. This has more to do with the need to see the ‘bigger picture’, than with economic pressures.

  2. Frieda says:

    I also left Ireland by choice, in fact before the boom began — I missed the whole thing! I agree that it’s a good thing to see a bit of the world before settling down. Though the issue can sometimes become, when to return, if ever. That’s certainly my quandary.

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