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One in four Irish families have had a family member emigrate. Ireland's economic brain drain continues. Photo by: Google Images

One in four people have a family member who has emigrated - over 300,000 Irish have left since 2011

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One in four Irish families have had a family member emigrate. Ireland's economic brain drain continues. Photo by: Google Images

One in four Irish people have had a close family member emigrate in the past four years, according to the latest survey.

Some 308,000 people left Ireland in the four years leading up to April 2012, and 41 percent of those are in the 15 to 24 age bracket, new research indicates.

The Red C poll for the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) found that half of those living in Ireland aged 18-24 have considered leaving, while four in 10 adults aged 25 to 34 have thought about emigrating.

The primary factor motivating 43 percent of those considering leaving is the potential of better employment opportunities abroad. A further 41 percent said they would leave due to being unemployed in Ireland.

Read More: Greener on the other side - a Donegal graduate’s transition to life in the Big Apple

Some 10 percent of respondents said they would leave to experience living abroad, while 1 percent said they would go to study and a further 1 percent for a better climate.

A large majority, 83 percent, disagreed that the Government was addressing the issue of youth unemployment adequately. A further 85 percent said not enough was being done to tackle youth emigration.

The vast majority of respondents aged 18-25 expressed a desire to return home to Ireland once the economy improved.

The survey is part of a major new study on youth emigration which explores the experiences of Irish citizens who have moved to the Canada and the UK in the last two years.

“Over 300,000 people have left the country over the last four years since the crisis, most of them young. We need to support them to make informed choices if they are going to places like Australia or Canada, or other parts of the world,” said NYCI assistant director James Doorley.

“It shouldn’t be the case that once they leave the airports here in Ireland that they are forgotten about.”

Demonstrating the ongoing high levels of emigration, almost 50,000 Irish people took up visas in Australia and Canada last year, an Oireachtas committee has heard on Wednesday.

In 2012 more than 25,800 Irish people received working holiday visas for Australia; 4,500 Irish-born citizens became permanent residents of Australia; and 645 were given student visas, said Niall Burgess of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

In Canada, 6,680 Irish people were given temporary visas, more than 6,000 were given working visas and 5,350 were given working holiday visas, reports the Irish Times.

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