Irish graduates are emigrating in record numbers as the economic slump continues.

The brain drain has meant that 100 graduates a week are now departing Ireland seeking work elsewhere.

The  figures are a Higher Education Authority (HEA) survey of 2009  graduates and show that already ten per cent of last year’s top honors graduates are already abroad.

The Union of Students in Ireland  (USI)has stated that the  billions of euro invested in education  will now end up benefiting American, Canadian and Australian economies.

USI president Gary Redmond stated the Government  needed to act quickly to halt the brain drain. "They could meet employers halfway by paying the equivalent of welfare payments and asking companies, who might not otherwise afford to take on graduates, to match it. Plenty of small and medium sized businesses looking to expand could do so with such a scheme.

"A year or two ago, it was mostly people like architects, engineers and quantity surveyors leaving Ireland, but now those with a much wider range of qualifications are walking into jobs abroad.

"Some will inevitably come back but many will start families and homes elsewhere and be lost to this country forever," he told the Irish Examiner.

Irish graduates protesting at the Famine memorial next to the Irish Center for Financial ServicesUnion of Students in Ireland