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75,800 people between the ages of 15-44 left Ireland in 2012. Photo by: Google Images

Children suffering the most as Ireland continues its slow recovery

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75,800 people between the ages of 15-44 left Ireland in 2012. Photo by: Google Images

Emigration levels in Ireland continue to reach alarming levels. It has been estimated that more than 75,800 people between the ages of 15-44 left Ireland last year, in the hope of finding a better life away from the economic depression on the island of Ireland.

The continued exodus of the Irish population, has cast a long and cold shadow over Ireland, as the country struggles to recover from the financial crisis that began in 2008.

Not long ago Ireland was experiencing the highest net immigration in Europe, but now Ireland has the highest level of net emigration of any European country.

According to the Financial Times, children have suffered the most, "with the percentage of under 17-year-olds living in consistent poverty rising from a shocking 7.4 percent before the crisis to 9.3 percent in 2011."
 
One in four under 25-year-olds are unemployed and thousands of others who purchased properties in the housing boom struggling with exorbitant home loans, negative equity and mortgage arrears.

Figures seen by IrishCentral indicate that almost 100,000 Irish households are more than 90 days in arrears with their mortgage payments. A knock-on effect of these shocking mortgage figures is that many young Irish families are packing their bags and heading for countries with stronger economies, where they hope to find a better life.

More than 6,000 Irish people claiming state benefits received letters from the Irish Government stating that they should try and find work abroad.

The Financial Times recently interviewed Alan Douglas, an unemployed electrician who has endured a difficult few years like so many others. He was one of the 6,000 people who received one of the sickening letters telling him to seek work abroad.

"It made me feel like I was being pushed out of my own country," says Mr Douglas, 26, from Bray, near Dublin. Another 'jobseeker was sent details of a job as a bus driver in Malta, which paid just €250 ($344) a week but came with a "Mediterranean climate".'

The Irish government has received a strong backlash from opposition parties and youth groups. They accuse the Government of operating a state-sponsored emigration scheme, which has been dubbed "The Scattering," mocking the Irish government's highly publicised 2013 tourism initiative "The Gathering," designed to attract the Irish diaspora to come 'home' for a visit.

An embargo on recruitment for the public sector, has left few opportunities for young Irish graduates.

The mass emigration is causing unexpected problems in the Irish health service. Almost half of all Irish doctors are working abroad – the highest rate in the OECD.

According to the Financial Times, "Doctors historically have left Ireland for a year or two to work abroad but now many are setting up home abroad and are not returning," says Dr John Donnellan of the Irish Medical Organisation, which represents doctors in Ireland.

Outward net migration of young people is running at 20,000 per year for each of the past three years, indicating that many who leave are coming back, according to government officials.

A study by University College Cork (UCC) debunks the view that people leave to escape unemployment. It found that nearly half the emigrants studied gave up full-time jobs to go abroad, while just under a quarter were unemployed. Almost two-thirds of the emigrants surveyed hold a third level qualification, according to the study, raising concerns about a "brain drain" effect.

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