The Irish government predicts the return of young Irish people living abroad.Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Irish Government predicts that the current wave of Irish emigration will come to an end by 2017. They claim that the number of people emigrating will be outweighed by the number returning by this time.

Irish Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, announced that Ireland will see an end to net outward migration (more people leaving Ireland than moving/returning to the country) by 2016, with a return to net inward migration by the following year.

If government predictions are true, this will be the first time that Ireland has seen net inward migration since 2009. Statistics from the Irish Census Statistics Office show that over half a million people left Ireland between 2008 and 2014 -- 250,000 Irish people and 300,000 people of other nationalities.

Between 2009 and 2010, net inward migration jumped from 1,600 people to a net outward migration of -27,500 people. Net outward migration continued to grow in the following years, reaching a peak of -34,400 people in 2012. Since then, it has declined slightly, although it still came in at -21,400 in 2014, a drop of 35% from the previous year.

The fall in net outward migration last year came as a result of an increase of 8.4 percent in immigration to Ireland and a fall of 8 per cent in the number emigrating.

Minister Noonan stated that this figure will continue to rise in the direction of net inward migration with thanks to the government’s plans to cut income tax and the Universal Social Charge (USC, another tax on Irish wages) in the next five years.

Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, predicted the end to mass Irish emigration by 2017.

Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, predicted the end to mass Irish emigration by 2017.

Speaking at this week’s spring economic statement, Minister Noonan said, “The young people who have left are coming back and will continue to do so” as a result of the “jobs-rich recovery.”

The plan to cut income tax and USC will “put more money into people’s pockets,” he continued, and “encourage young Irish people who are working overseas in good jobs to return home, confident that they will be able to find well paid jobs in Ireland.”

Scepticism has come from opposition party members on the government’s prediction, however.

Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly stated that the prediction did not take into account the other barriers that face Irish immigrants who wish to return to the country. She cited “poor infrastructure, precarious working conditions and low pay, lack of career opportunities and progression and a lack of affordable housing” among these barriers.

Green Party finance spokesman Councillor Mark Dearey also voiced his criticism of Noonan’s announcement saying that young Irish people will still lack “the ability to get an affordable home, close to where they will work, and the lack of the same health and educational services they avail of in Australia, Canada or the UK.”

“Rather than promising them tax cuts we need to convince them we can get the planning of those building blocks of our society right,” he continued.

Do you plan on returning/moving to Ireland in the future? Do you think that the current wave of Irish emigration is coming to an end? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

H/T: The Irish Times