Struggling to survive back home
Irish who left America are struggling
Returning home someday is the dream of many an Irish immigrant who comes to the U.S. APRIL DREW spoke to some of the many who have made the move, and found that their lives aren’t all that they hoped they’d be.
Several Irish immigrants who moved back to Ireland during the Celtic Tiger boom are now struggling on a daily basis to have a fraction of the life they had while living in the U.S.
Some of these returned immigrants spoke candidly to the Irish Voice about the realities of their lives in Ireland, and what they would do differently if given a second chance.
Norma Lynch, 36, spent nearly four years living in New York. She was 29 when she arrived and 33 when she left.
Lynch, who returned to Ireland because she missed family too much, worked various jobs here and always had money in her back pocket.
Since returning to Ireland Lynch has been unable to have the same standard of living she once was accustomed to in New York.
She has been working as a supermarket supervisor since October 2007, but her income is proving difficult to live on.
“It’s very tough to live on a wage here, what with the cost of living and accommodation being so expensive and trying to pay for a car, petrol (gas), tax, insurance … it’s just so hard,” said Lynch.
“And forget about taking a holiday, there is no money left over at the end of the week to save for any vacations,” she added.
Lynch, while living in New York, was earning triple her current wages, and treated herself to many a shopping spree.
“I just miss having the financial freedom to go where I please and spend what I want,” she said.
Lynch, if given an opportunity again, would move back to New York “in a heartbeat.”
“I guess for now I’ll just have to make do with what I have and count my blessings that I even have a job in this crazy economy,” she added.
Like Lynch, Hugh Shalvey, 30, left the U.S. after spending five years working as an elevator engineer in Manhattan because he too missed family and friends.
Shalvey, from Co. Monaghan and now living in Co. Donegal, returned to a prosperous Ireland in 2007. He was lucky to secure employment in the same trade upon returning home, but admits his job is currently “very unstable.”
“I worry every day for my job. Things have gotten super quiet so I just don’t know,” Shalvey told the Irish Voice.
Shalvey, who lived in Queens while he was here, said life was much easier when he first returned to Ireland.
“It’s so much tougher financially now than it was when I first came back home,” he said.
“I’m still lucky to be working because a whole lot of my family and friends are out of work, and it’s hard to survive when things are so expensive here.”
Shalvey would consider returning to New York if his job does go, but it would be a decision he would have “to think long and hard about making.”
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