The Hopeless West
FAMILIES in the west of Ireland who on the face of it don’t “need” to emigrate are upping sticks anyway because of the prevailing sense of despair and hopelessness regarding the future of the country.
Dail (Parliament) deputy Denis Naughten has painted a bleak and depressing picture of the scale and extent of emigration on the ground in Galway, Roscommon and the west of Ireland.
The former Fine Gael now independent TD (Dail member) said a new trend was emerging whereby even though the parents are both in decent enough jobs and have only small manageable debts, they are pulling the children out of school and emigrating to Australia, England and North America because they see no future for their children here.
“This is a new thing. These are people that you would, on the face of it, think are doing quite well. It is a worrying trend,” he said.
“I’ve come across a number of cases, including a couple of families in Galway, where whole families are emigrating.
"These are cases where the two parents are in jobs and the children are in school but they are deciding to go anyway because they don’t see a long term future for themselves or their children in this country. They don’t see a roadmap; they don’t see any hope.”
He pointed out that in the eighties, it was generally unheard of that entire families would up and leave.
“I could count 50 or more families where the father emigrated and sent back money and the children stayed in Ireland with their mother. You see people are emigrating now, and they have no job and no prospect – that’s not new,” Naughten said.
“But what is new is this worrying trend whereby families are leaving because they feel there is no hope. They feel there is no vision or blueprint for where we want to be as a country in five or 10 years,” he said.
Wind for IKEA
IKEA is buying a wind farm to power its mammoth stores in Belfast and Dublin.
The Swedish retailer said four large turbines in Carrickeeny, in northwest Leitrim, will go into operation next year.
They will generate 25GWh of electricity, the same as would be needed to power 5,500 houses a year.
Joanna Yarrow of IKEA said the move would help cut costs, as well as reduce its carbon footprint.
"Companies, individuals or governments -- we all have responsibility to address the resource dilemma and commit to a more sustainable future," she said.
"Producing our own affordable, renewable electricity gets us one step closer to becoming completely energy-independent by 2020, while ensuring our commercial success."
Last year, IKEA unveiled its plan to be 100 percent clean energy-fuelled by 2020.
The sustainability project will see it pump £1.3 billion into wind and solar energy sources.
IKEA has two outlets on the island of Ireland, near Belfast's George Best City Airport and in Dublin's Ballymun.
The wind farms in Leitrim will power the stores for the next two decades, the company said.