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Young people and emigration: The elephant in the room

  • 07-09-2022 10:53pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,639 ✭✭✭

    Ireland is an economy that has boomed for the past 6 years however in that time many of my friends have moved abroad. One of the reasons citied when a Sinn Fein politician or the emigrants themselves talks about emigrating Ireland is the housing situation and the lack of opportunity to find an affordable place. However, nobody ever mentions that the cities that the majority of our emigrants go to our among the most expensive cities in the world with housing and rental situations comparable to ours.

    The only difference that I can see is that people move to these places and don't have to think long term so they spend a huge amount on rent and living and just end up living month to month. When in Ireland they probably feel a greater pressure to put some money aside. They get an education for 18 years and then act as if Ireland has given them nothing. You literally got your education subsidised by the Irish taxpayer!

    I feel everyone knows most people in Ireland leave for a bit of crack and because they've been conditioned to think that life happens outside of Ireland. Nobody really goes away because they absolutely have to.



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,805 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    I left because there were no opportunities. It was just that simple. I'm in London and flats in places like Limerick and Galway aren't that much cheaper than Zone 4 here. Cities like Liverpool and Leeds are significantly cheaper.

    If there's no opportunity and a high cost of living, you might as well do some travelling and broaden your horizons. I'm debating moving to France which would still be absurdly expensive but at least I'd never have to hear a certain B-word again.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,394 ✭✭✭NSAman

    I’ve been emigrating for many years. Finally 20 years ago moved to America.before that, Europe and Africa.

    having worked in Ireland I found it stifling in relation to creativity and alternative thought processes in many companies. Openness of thought and willingness to try new things is the main reason I left. It’s been good for me, it’s been exciting, lucrative and personally expansive (both physically and mentally) 😀

    i still miss home immensely and any chance I get I go back home.

    My friends don’t have the usual reaction…”here comes the yank” as my accent hasn’t changed and neither has the sense of humour. We still meet up when home.

    one thing you realise, nothing really changes back home. Family still do the same thing (despite the worry of elderly relatives), friends continue doing what they do. The one thing that really brought how far I am from home is Covid.

    i would advise anyone to work away, it brings self reliance, new world views and expands your confidence.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,750 ✭✭✭Greyfox

    The rental situation is at a horrible crisis level and won't be fixed any time soon. As a person who has a deep love of Ireland the truth is for young people theirs at least 100 cities out there that offer a much better life than Ireland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,953 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Problem is with population rising and no realistic way of stopping bar leaving the EU…. Incidentally I think that will happen in xx years….like the British I think people here will become disillusioned with what has and will further become of Ireland and young kids will attempt to find a country where hard work, innovation, ingenuity and skills are rewarded..

    we are a budget or two max from income tax rises… years waiting for housing, piss poor public transport with a metro as far away as ever… jokeshop country… no fairness and young people are getting shafted.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,830 ✭✭✭Cluedo Monopoly

    I worked abroad for around 4 years. Various countries. I came back on late 90s and settled down.

    I am embarrassed at how bad a state the FF and FG power swap circus have left this country in for our young people. And old people for that matter.

    What are they doing in the Hyacinth House?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,161 ✭✭✭✭Grayson

    I left last year and I'm in my 40's. I had managed to save quite a bit and has a sizeable deposit for a place but there was feck all to buy and I would have still ended up buying a tiny apt. I lived in a tiny apartment just outside Dublin and was paying a fortune in rent. The place was falling apart and the landlord kept increasing the rent. Moving wasn't an option because of the prices of apartments.

    I was offered a job in germany and i took it. Life is so much better here. The stress of living in a tiny cramped place is gone. Landlords here follow the law. I have a place 4 times bigger, in the middle of a large city. And I mean the middle. I'm a 10 minute walk from the equivalent of Grafton st and temple bar. And I'm paying the same I paid for a tiny apt in Kildare.

    If I stay longer term I'll downsize. I can still have a place that's about 60-70m2 for about 700 a month.

    I love Ireland but in someways it's an absolute shithole. Unless you're married it's next to impossible to buy a decent sized place. And I'd be ok with not buying if I could rent a place long term. But that's not an option either.


    I have fellow expats here who work in tech like me and I do say "You'd love Ireland, but don't move there. It's too expensive. You'll live in a tiny apt, pay more in rent and won't be able to save a penny"

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,416 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    Most are leaving by choice than necessity. If housing is solely the problem it's a lot easier to move elsewhere in Ireland than another country I'd imagine.

  • Registered Users Posts: 478 ✭✭Run Forest Run

    I think there is still that undercurrent in Irish society of an inferiority complex compared to other parts of the world. A hangover from previous generations who genuinely were leaving to better themselves and escaping deep economic and cultural quagmires.

    But at the same time, your home is your home, so people can't just completely ditch the place as it's part of the fabric of who we are.

    I've lived abroad in several different countries, as well as travelling extensively. Even though I enjoyed the experience immensely, if anything it really made me appreciate Ireland more from being away. But I can't really put my finger on what it is exactly that makes this country the place I want to spend the rest of my life.

    I do think we have it better in this country than many people realise. You only have to look at the average Irish person's attitude to our weather/climate, to realise we are nation of whingers moaners and begrudgers. Always finding something trivial to whine about, and not really recognising the flip side of the coin and the long list of positives that we have going for us.

    And yet despite this annoying personality trait in many of my fellow citizens, I still love the place and want to be here. lol

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,666 ✭✭✭Former Former Former

    I left because there were no opportunities

    London is a global financial, industrial and cultural capital with 10 million people. You're not really comparing like with like.

    Nevertheless, there have never been more opportunities for young people in the history of our country, and I doubt many countries of a similar size provide anything close to the opportunities that Ireland does. We have full employment and we are screaming out for more graduates to take on high quality jobs.

    Whatever failings modern Ireland has, a lack of opportunity is not one of them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,161 ✭✭✭✭Grayson

    Not really. Most of the jobs are in Dublin. And other places in Ireland still have very few places to live.

    Looking on daft to rent, there's 803 places in the whole country. 284 places are in Dublin. That leaves 519 places in the whole rest of the country. I realise they won't be distributed evenly but if they were that would mean an average of 20 places per county.

    So it's hard to find a place. And unless you're lucky enough to get a job locally, you're left with a very long commute. Plus you'd be moving somewhere random, quite possibly in the middle of nowhere, where you don't know anyone and there's very little in the way of social life.

    And it still wouldn't be that cheap.

    So just move to another country. My family live in mayo and I now have a shorter trip home to visit them since there's nearby flights to Knock. It's faster than the trip I had to take into Dublin, then catch a train from Heuston.

    There's a huge expat community so I've made new friends. And friends from Ireland visit here. Coming up to xmas almost every weekend I have friends or family visiting for the xmas markets.

    Edit to add: And as I mentioned before, I do love Ireland. I didn't want to have to move. But I lived in a shithole apt that I was paying about 1k a month for. And I was lucky. I could afford to pay that myself. Plus I was getting it cheaper than market rate. Plus I could actually find somewhere.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,416 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    No idea what percentage of the housing market daft covers,not 100% anyway I'd say.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,805 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    I... wasn't comparing like with like. I don't know why you're suggesting that I was. I emigrated to somewhere totally different for precisely that reason.

    As for the rest of your post, I'm not convinced. The choice is either whatever's available in the countryside or the overpriced tip that is Dublin.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,161 ✭✭✭✭Grayson

    It's still a very good estimate. Sure there will be some trading hands on facebook, or through friends/family, but it's still a pitiful amount.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,416 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    Every Estate Agent,social media. The majority never need to be advertised I'd say.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,666 ✭✭✭Former Former Former

    Well yeah, but fewer oppotunities in the countryside compared to the cities is hardly unique to Ireland.

    But Ireland has far more to offer young people outside of the capital than a lot of other countries do. Our biggest industry is pharma and medtech and it's dotted all over the country, for example. Think you have unreasonable expectatations tbh.

    As for Dublin, it's not a tip, it's a great place to live.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,805 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    Never said it was.

    No, it doesn't. Here in the UK, Oxford and Cambridge are major tech hubs near global elite Universities and some exquisite countryside and both are within spitting distance of London. All there is to do in rural Ireland is drink. Fine if that's what one is into but I'm not and if I stayed, I'd just feel like I was wasting my life.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,188 ✭✭✭✭Princess Consuela Bananahammock

    Pretty much everyone who grows up in the western world gets an education, so there's nothing special about the Irish one. In any case, it's more of an indoctrintion than an education, so when people wake up to this, why get annoyed wen they leave?

    In any cases, my reasons were more social than economical: I got bored of everything revolving around overprived drink and crappy innuendo.

    Everything I don't like is either woke or fascist - possibly both - pick one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,617 ✭✭✭✭cj maxx

    Young Irish people have always emigrated. You only need to go to NY,Boston, San Francisco etc. Or Canada or Australia. In the 80's it was the uk . Now its further afield , and good luck to them. If I was that age again I'd be long gone. Best life experience you can have.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,182 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    OP, your friends have not moved abroad. They have only told you they have moved abroad.

    They got a good two years out of "Sorry, can't meet up because of Covid" but they can't use that excuse any more

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,416 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    Most of it was forced though I'm afraid. Anybody under fifty doesn't remember the misery that was the eighties in Ireland.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,617 ✭✭✭✭cj maxx

    I left in the late 90's early 00's and you couldn't go to woodside or woodland without seeing someone you knew from home.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,666 ✭✭✭Former Former Former

    In any cases, my reasons were more social than economical: I got bored of everything revolving around overprived drink and crappy innuendo.

    All there is to do in rural Ireland is drink. Fine if that's what one is into but I'm not and if I stayed, I'd just feel like I was wasting my life.

    Don't these attitudes just back the OP's point that people leave because they want to, not because they have to?

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,188 ✭✭✭✭Princess Consuela Bananahammock

    To a certain extent, yes- but he still ponders over the "why"? bit.

    Everything I don't like is either woke or fascist - possibly both - pick one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 398 ✭✭jimmybobbyschweiz

    I emigrated mainly because of the housing crisis but also because I had experienced life abroad and did find that Ireland does exist in a bit of a bubble. There is a perception that we are this mecca of tech and finance, for example, which means that other comparatively sized cities to Dublin are far inferior when it comes to jobs and salaries but that is definitely not true. In fact, I found my salary in finance significantly increase when I moved abroad while housing costs did not which leaves us in a much more comfortable position. However, I found the narrative in Ireland was that it was a country somehow comparable to the likes of Denmark or Netherlands (it's really very far off these places) and that somehow our housing crisis was not unique - it really is.

    To add to the Irish bubble mentality, one thing I found moving to a continental European country is that things don't really work in Ireland despite the crazy amount of money thrown at them, things like health, public transport etc. There are times since I moved where I question whether Ireland is truly a wealthy country when it cannot provide basic services when other comparable European cities can provide much better services for the citizens. Yet, again, the attitude in Ireland was one of acceptance and tolerance towards what is objectively an obscene waste of public money and an atrocious public services offering.

    Lastly, someone else mentioned earlier in the thread that they found going home to Ireland it would not seem like a lot changed. Another poster mentioned that perhaps there is an inferiority complex in the Irish mentality. Unfortunately I think both are linked and there is a certain insecurity and self-esteem issue with Irish people that they struggle to shake off. The attitude to emigrants who return for a visit, I have found, was sometimes mistaking confidence and change for arrogance; the Irish felt the emigrant thinks they are better than them, which is not true at all, it is just that the emigrant changed and grew out of this inferiority mentality.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,486 ✭✭✭Hamachi

    Housing is an issue here for sure. However, some of that issue is attributable to our unique demographics. In a European context, we have a very young population with robust natural growth. The birth rate increased 16% YoY in QR1 of 2022. This fact, compounded by very high levels of inward migration means that we are always playing catch-up when it comes to housing. The first dimension simply isn’t a factor across much of continental Europe, where natural population growth is minimal or negative.

    Frankly, your points about insecurity and an inferiority complex are nonsense. I’m pretty senior in the tech sector and have worked extensively on the continent and in North America. Irish people more than hold their own in any setting. I have several young guys and girls in their early 20s, reporting into me. They are extraordinarily confident in any setting and are destined to go far. These people could have international careers if they so choose, but are very happy with their professional and personal lives in Ireland. Nobody is particularly interested in emigrants or their experiences abroad. Out of sight, out of mind and all that. People are too busy pursuing their own full lives here to be concerned with the perceptions of those who have created a life abroad.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    The world is a very small place in these times. It is not hard to be home in less than a day from nearly anywhere. We are possibly one of the best educated and hardest working people in the entire planet and known for it. There are simply copious amounts of opportunity for people with these prospects.

    You don't have to do London to get set up nicely in the UK. There are oodles of other big conurbations to make a decent living in.

    Given the increase in working from home vacancies this will only lead to further possibilities both home and abroad, which actually should and will have a negative impact on domestic service jobs. You can get 3 Indian national IT professionals for the price of one in here, that is already a huge factor in outsourced IT and accounting functions, that could well play havoc long term on our Financial Services offer, it already is.

    Emigration is a fact of Irish existence as long as I am alive, there is nothing unique or novel about it. It will always be an option or a necessity to us.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,953 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Just looking at and jobs in the hospitality sector..

    management positions in hospitality offering a shade over €41,000… 🙄

    Another company stating management positions….€30,000 - €35,000 🤣

    A receptionist working nights in a hotel… €28,088

    Wages are constantly being driven down by this unfettered race to boost this population….

    the cost of living is rising unscrupulously yet so is competition for jobs meaning it’s a race to the bottom.

    Young people in this country are being absolutely shafted.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Well, for my part (mid 40s) I returned to Ireland just before Covid hit, looked after my parents for most the time, and then, figured I'd go get a job somewhere. Thought it would be nice to stay and work in Ireland for a few years, and then, maybe, head off abroad again. Or stay.

    So, I went looking for work.. and.. in spite of all the talk about this country booming, there's a lot of jobs being advertised that go nowhere. Or companies who hire people on temp contracts and they're back looking for new employees a few weeks later. I've a MBA and years of experience both in Ireland and abroad.. both in business and as a teacher/lecturer, and.. very little was really there. Oh, I could have taken jobs with high work hours and low pay, they're around alright, but unless you're specialised in some particular field, the salaries, benefits, and reliability of jobs is sorely lacking. I've spoken to a variety of people about this, and it seems a common experience. Plenty of advertised jobs, occasionally some interviews and then, offers for peanuts.

    Doesn't help that most of these jobs are in Dublin, where even if we could find a place to stay, the low salaries being offered for "new" employees wouldn't go far beyond it.

    I'd say that's a big reason people are leaving. Employers are shafting potential new hires, and people are getting dispirited by the lack of interest, even though they've got all their university degrees, or a decade of experience. TBH most people I know in Ireland, who have stayed, ended up in the public service. I'd be hardpressed to find anyone who is working privately unless they started the business themselves.

    I'm aiming to be gone at the end of this month. Ireland is far too expensive for what is returned.. and honestly, I don't see much security in this country over the next few decades.

  • Registered Users Posts: 398 ✭✭jimmybobbyschweiz

    With respect, I don't think the high flyers in tech are who I'm talking about. They are likely well travelled and exposed to different cultures so if anything would likely get a bit of begrudgery from the Irish people I am referring to as they seem to be too confident and worldly!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,953 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Temporary contracts and their prevalence is getting more commonplace. Especially amongst lower skilled workers…

    it’s a bit worrying that I’m reading one third of younger workers (18-24) had a temporary contract, compared to 6 per cent of 25-64 year olds, in 2019 granted but I’d speculate that has dis improved..