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Prime Minister Brian Cowen Photo by: Google Images

Irish in the United States slam corruption back home

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Prime Minister Brian Cowen Photo by: Google Images

News of the IMF/EU bailout for Ireland has trickled across the Atlantic and into the souls of Irish immigrants, some of whom are undocumented, stirring a startling realization that their homeland is in trouble and at the moment not a place for them to go back to.

Marie is from Dublin but living in Brooklyn for the past 10 years (she is undocumented) said, “Seeing what is happening in Ireland has reconfirmed the very difficult decision to stay living illegally in the U.S.”

Said Marie, “Living in a country that has fallen from boom to bust in one fell swoop is horrible, depressing and unnerving, leaving everyone with a massive feeling of trepidation and that’s not my cup of tea.”

Marie said witnessing her family go through the recession is difficult.

“I’ve had aunts and uncles say to me that if they were 10 years younger, they would simply pack up and walk away, the outlook is so dire.”

“Though it’s very sad, humiliating and embarrassing that it has come to this, the reality is that the IMF intervention has been needed in Ireland for years,” she added.

Marie feels the IMF/EU bailout will “eliminate the corruption and the cronyism” that has been rampant in Ireland for years and was allowed “fester into this current disaster.”

Echoing the same sentiments of thousands of people living in Ireland, Marie feels that “Fianna Fail along with the banking institutions” have ruined Ireland for generations to come and “they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Marie blames Taoiseach Brian Cowen for the mess Ireland finds itself in.

“He lied until the very last minute about what was actually happening, but he has had his hands all over this fiasco since the very beginning, as minister for finance and then taoiseach,” she said angrily.

Helen Diggs who is from Co. Louth and been living in Texas for 24 years, said Ireland’s economic situation got out of hand a long time ago.

“It was crazy over there. Things were so expensive, so expensive in fact it meant that we couldn’t afford a trip home since 2005,” said Diggs via email on Tuesday.

Diggs recalls the beginning of the Celtic Tiger and how many of her friends both in Texas and in New York (where she lived for a period of time before moving to Texas) returned to Ireland for prosperity.

“Personally I thought they were mad but then they began to do so good and I thought wow good on them,” she recalls.

However, said Diggs, their good fortune was short-lived and now they “have mortgages up to their necks and are struggling to pay their bills.”

On a positive note, now that Ireland has hit a recession it is proving much more affordable for Diggs, her husband and three sons to visit Ireland.

“We could finally afford to go back this year because everything was much cheaper,” she said.

Based on several conversations with family and friends back in Ireland, Diggs is hearing that many of the young people are planning to immigrate and that, she said makes her sad.

“To be honest it’s not the right solution. Things aren’t much better in America either,” she added.
Leona from Co. Kerry (also undocumented) has been living in New York for three years and recently got married.

“We were planning on returning to Ireland in the next year or so but now it looks like that won’t be happening,” Leona told the Irish Voice.

“I have been getting constant updates from my family and friends as to how bad the situation is in Ireland. It has made me very upset to think of those so close and important to me are in such a bad way.”

Leona said she is now “more than ever” missing home and her family.

“I am feeling more homesick knowing that my once very comfortable parents are facing job losses,” she said.

Both of Leona’s parents work in the public sector, which is expected to be affected greatly by the December budget.

“Even though I want to go back to Ireland to work, I'm afraid I cannot do so. My husband or I will not get jobs as good as we have here or may not get any jobs at all,” she said sadly.

“So until Ireland starts to recover I will be forced to stay in the U.S., however long it takes.”

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