A staggering 100,000 people will leave Ireland between this year and next year according to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

The ESRI says this exodus is the biggest element in helping keep the jobless figures down.

But where on earth is everyone going?

Why America of course. Even though the U.S. has been pretty much closed to Irish people since the 1965 Immigration Act.

But the ESRI doesn't care about such niceties of course.

As long as Ireland's fed-up and jobless keep streaming for the exits, the people in charge can keep pretending it's not happening.

They can pretend the young Irish are doing just fine wherever they land, visa or no visa.

Been here before lads.

I was one of the hundreds of thousands who headed for the exits in 1985 when official Ireland turned a blind eye to our plight.

Thousands of young Irish ended up in the big cities of America where they soon found work, but they couldn't get visas.

And it would have remained so if two congressmen - Brian Donnelly and particularly Bruce Morrison - hadn't put their shoulders to the wheel and helped chart a new legal path for the Irish.

Americans helping the Irish.

The ESRI calculates that without the large-scale emigration taking place now, the Irish jobless rate would be about 16 percent not the current 13.4 percent.

And as the Irish Independent pointed out today, "those departing are also easing the pressure on the Government in lower welfare costs and less political opposition."

Ironic isn't it.

Ireland's young emigrants can sink or swim overseas even though they're helping solve the problem in Ireland.

We desperately need a new Bruce Morrison or Brian Donnelly in Congress now.