Thursday, July 2, 2009

Emmigration Returns

It is a sad fact of life that once again emmigration appears to be returning to our country. I'm not talking about gap years or enriching ones life with travel but the enforced decamping of our most educated and talented to other countries. I spoke to someone as late as today who is heading off to Canada (pictued above) before the end of the year and is currently in the middle of the application process.

This person is fully qualified with an honours degree and no prospect at all of a job here - or even the opportunity to get experience. She has been qualified for over a year with no work forthcoming at all in that time. She detailed for me her former student colleagues and their subsequent worldwide travels in search of that elusive job. She, and they will be a loss to this country. We educated them and now we will not benefit as a country from that investment. At least they go well prepared for good jobs and will make a fantastic contribution to whatever country is lucky enough to get them.

I was listening to Vincent Browne the other night and he suggested that, global economic downturn aside, Irelands' current predicament could in fact be laid at the door of about 20 people. Twenty people! That's extra-ordinary.

Maddeningly, those 20 people it seems, have gotten off scott free with big pensions, big pay-offs, big houses and no worries about the recession. How can this be right? My suspicion is and always has been that there is a small 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch your back' clique in Dublin that includes politicians, bankers, regulators and various FF groupies who all look out for each other, who sit on boards, who cover the governments ass and who in turn, have their asses covered by government. They know where the bodies are, collectively and they aren't telling - as long as they're all looked after.

I'm sure if you were to conduct an assessment of who is on national boards, there would be a pretty small amount of people filling quite a few places all drawn from the same gene pool. Each one on a number of bodies (a sizeable majority from Dublin I would hazard). The same people sitting on conflicting boards perhaps? All with a nice little stipend thank you very much. And no consequences when anything goes wrong.

So while the fatcats sit comfortably, not worrying too much about being tied into fixed rate mortgages, being unaffected by levies or paycuts, not at risk of being cast onto the dole queue after decades of hard-work and service, unconcerned how they are going to find work at their age to put food on the table, while others are left to once again walk the emmigration plank.

It's a sad old state to be in to be sure. I wished my friend good luck with her job search across in Canada. Who knows if she will ever return or live here again.

I wonder will any of those 20 people be forced to emmigrate - or any of their families. Most likely they would be looked after by the old boys network. That's how Ireland works.

One way or another things aren't looking too good for the next, oh I don't know, decade or so at least. I wonder if the generations who emmigrate bewteen now and then will know or care who is or was to blame for their forced departure.

Personally at the moment I don't see where this is going to 'bottom out' or where those much sought after green shoots are going to come from. Must watch Vincent again tonight and see if he comes up with any answers - or at least, a few names we can hang this on!

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