Hop to it! 22,728 Irish flee to Australia to escape recession

Australia is emerging as a number one destination for Irish people fleeing the recession in Ireland.

The Australian Government has issued 22,788 visas for the year to June 2009, up by 33 percent from 17,120 in the year to June 2008.

The numbers going to Australia account for the overwhelming majority of Irish people leaving Ireland.

New figures from the Central Statistics office show that about 17,000 Irish people left the state up until April 2009.

In total, 65,000 people left Ireland up until April and while 50 percent of those were from the 12 newest EU states, 25 percent were Irish.

Jenny Woods, from Co Westmeath is one of them.

The 27-year-old packed up her things and headed to Sydney in March.

"I knew I was going to get laid off," she said, "and there was nothing holding me to Ireland."

"I didn't want to learn another language so I was looking at Britain, Australia or the U.S."

"Britain was appealing but they have the same weather!

"I have family in the U.S. but I couldn't get a visa so I decided to come to Australia."

"I'm delighted I was able to get away but it's a long way from home."

Woods says she has been able to find work in the same field.

"I was working as a carer in a nursing home and I've been able to get the same work here."