Irish Emigration

According to the Irish Central Statistics Office the net influx of Irish Nationals coming back to Ireland between 2006 and 2009 was just over 13,000…

Immigration and Emigration : Irish Nationals : 2006 – 2009
2006 2007 2008 2009 TOTAL
Immigration 18,900 20,000 16,200 18,400 73,500
Emigration 15,300 13,100 13,400 18,400 60,200

Looking to the future, the ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) predicts that 120,000 Irish Nationals will leave during 2010 and 2011, and possibly upwards of 200,000 by 2015.

The Third Wave

Albeit smaller than in previous eras many of the reasons are similar. A contracted economy, limited job prospects, but with government suggestions that emigration this time is different (see video) and that exporting our talent isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some however would have a different perspective, e.g, Martina Devlin, The Independent.

Whatever your views about emigration the effect on ordinary families is largely the same, and the direction that peoples lives take is still open to the same influences as in the past.


For most the plan will be to spend a year or so away from home, gain some experience, and consider their options when things start to pick up. That’s the intention to start with, but things change. A different career path offers itself, opportunities arise, or a new girlfriend or boyfriend appears on the scene, and gradually those original plans drift to the background.

The same cycle that existed for previous generations will repeat itself – newly dispersed families. Many that leave will settle and bring their culture and heritage with them, they will pass those values on, and their new families will become part of the melting pot of diverse accents that is the Irish diaspora.


As Gabriel Byrne recently put it…

Ireland forgets about the seeds that have gone away, but the seeds that have gone away have never forgotten about Ireland

So what can we do to change that, how can we change the way of thinking so that Ireland doesn’t forget?


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