'Irish Emigrants Speak Up' - initiative calls on 'brain drain' generation to share stories through video

Video project aims to build a discourse between Irish people all over the world

A new project, “Irish Emigrants Speak Up,” has been launched with the hope that those Irish who have been recently affected by the ongoing emigration from Ireland will have some sort of a voice at home.

The project states that “emigration has been one of the most damaging outcomes of recession and economic mismanagement that has affected Ireland for over 200 years.

“Last year 87,000 people emigrated the highest figure since the 1800s. In the last four years nearly a 330,000 Irish people emigrated.”

The aim of the online project is to “enable emigrants to speak up and become again central to the discourse of our nation. It seeks to collect the valuable personal experience of hundreds of thousands of Irish people so that they can influence the economic and political development of Irish society. It seeks to build a discourse between Irish people all over the world.”

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To take part in the project they are asking immigrants to sign up and upload a short, five-minute, video during which they respond to a number of specific questions (see below).

Peadar Tóibín, an Irish parliamentary representative for Meath West and Enterprise Spokesperson for Sinn Féin, has helped to set up the project. He told IrishCentral “The issue ofimmigration is of deep concern to me and I don't believe that the government are taking it seriously enough. Indeed I believe that some within the government see emigration as a safety valve for unemployment.

“I feel that it is shocking that for generations, outside particular affected families, in the 40s, 50s and 80s, Irish people left in their hundreds of thousands and disappeared from view and discourse of the country.

“That needs to change in this generation. We need to give emigrants easy access into the debate of the nation. We need to give emigrants an opportunity to influence the direction of the country. Technology now offers us the opportunity to do this.”

All going well the project hopes to have a number of videos uploaded by Christmas and will continue to publicize the campaign in the Irish media.

To sign up visit their Facebook page. Here you will find instructions on where to send your short YouTube video.

The questions which will be answered by Irish immigrants in these videos are:

1. Your full name
2. Original Irish address
3. Where in the world are you located currently?
4. Age?
5. Family situation?
6. How long since you left Ireland?
7. What family have you left behind?
8. Educational status? Second Level? Third Level?
9. Why did you leave Ireland? Were you unemployed are employed?
10. If unemployed how long were you out of work?
11. Before you left Ireland what was the effect of unemployment or under employment on you, your family and on any financial commitments that you may have had?
12. What has been the effect of emigration on employment, family ties, and on financial commitments?
13. Do you feel you were treated fairly by the government before you left Ireland?
14. Do you feel the Irish Government are doing enough for you now?
15. Do you believe that you should have the right to vote in Irish Presidential elections or any other elections?
16. Do you have a message for the Irish Government?
17. Do you have a message for your friends and family?
18. Do you wish to return to Ireland some day?

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