Brian Cowen, the Irish Prime Minister has said that young people considering leaving the country “have a future in Ireland” despite high levels of emigration.

Speaking at jobs summit involving the heads of 11 state agencies the leader of Fianna Fáil was optimistic about Ireland’s economic future. "My advice is to say: There is a futu­­re for us here in this country; we’re on the road to recovery, " he said.
He added the Government "will maximize the options for them here at home and there may be opportunities abroad that they want to take up at this time as well, that’s a matter for individual choice hopefully, rather than involuntary choice".

Cowen’s comments come following the release of figures last week showing that 65,000 people emigrated in the year up to April.

The opposition were quick to criticize Cowen’s optimism, Fine Gael enterprise spokesperson Richard Bruton said "To quote Elvis Presley, a little less conversation a little more action please,"

Speaking as he visited Trinity College Dublin, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said: "Since he became Taoiseach, almost 250,000 extra people are on the unemployed register and 100,000 gone away. I’m glad that at long last the Taoiseach of the country recognizes there is a job crisis."

Labor Party leader Eamon Gilmore said that the first national objective must be jobs. "If today’s meeting represents a refocusing of government attention on the unemployment crisis then that will be a positive development,” he said.