Fine Gael makes promises on Irish emigration disaster

Union of Students protest lack of employment and mass emigration
Yesterday’s news that Fine Gael will make tackling the emigration crisis a cornerstone of their policy if elected is encouraging news for both myself and other Irish students long fed up with the incumbent government’s policy of laissez-faire on this issue.

Two things stand in the way of Mr Bruton’s statement, though: the fact that politicans have a habit of breaking their promises, and the fact that they’re not yet in power. Otherwise there’s hope on the horizon.

Student bodies have had their plaints fall on deaf government ears for far too long, and perhaps a change of leadership can lead to a change of policy.

Students unions from the umbrella-style USI (Union of Students in Ireland), to the lower-level individual institutions, have collectively been unable to get the government to ‘wise up’ on the issue of student emigration and unemployment despite a huge press and social media campaign.

So Fine Gael Enterprise and Job’s spokesperson Richard Bruton’s acknowledgement that “over 80% of the jobs lost have hit those under the age of 30” shows an awareness that was acutely lacking in Irish political circles about the students’ current crisis.

As satire of Brian Cowen nudges into the US media the feeling builds in Ireland that the government has had its day, and is running on borrowed time.

And although I think the radio interview issue was blown out of all reasonable proportion, I couldn’t deny that it’s caused Fianna Fail a continuing and protracted political fall-out.

“It is clear that the Government is unravelling,” said the same party’s environmental spokesperson on the same day.

If it does so unravel, let’s hope they take care of the students before they’ve all left.

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