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    Nursing rep raises spectre of emigration

    Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

    Hundreds of newly trained nurses will be emigrating due to a lack of jobs in Ireland, warned the Irish Nurses Organisation this week. INO general secretary Liam Doran says that only about 25-30% of newly trained nurses are being offered jobs, after being trained in four-year training programmes funded by the taxpayer. Doran told the Herald newspaper,

    “It’s probably the worst scene that has existed for the last decade in the health service. Hundreds will be emigrating”.

    He noted in the last 13 months the number of nurses employed in the health service has declined from 39,000 to 37,700.

    Meanwhile, Doran said, other countries are working to hire more nurses. “America has said that they’ll employ 600,000 more nurses in the next six years. You could be working in the morning in America.”

    The INO is trying to increase the number of posts for nurses employed by the HSE; the HSE had a hiring freeze, which was lifted in January.

    The Herald also asserts that “Irish medical doctors are being lured to Australia by more flexible rosters and less onerous hours by recruitment agencies”, but offers no figures.

    Read the report on the website: “No jobs in Ireland for our new nurses“.

    Emigration increasing, says CSO

    Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

    Emigration increased slightly in the year ending April 2008, with 45,300 people leaving Ireland.

    The figure is the highest since 1990, when 56,300 people left the country, but there are a couple of factors making a difference between then and now.

    First, it is likely that there are number of immigrants who had been temporarily in the country who are now returning home or moving on to a third country. The CSO statistics do not reveal nationality of those leaving, but 9,000 are moving on to the accession countries of the EU, while 7,400 are moving on to other parts of continental Europe.

    Second, immigration continues to outpace emigration, as it has been doing consistently since 1996. There were 83,300 people who came into Ireland last year; while this is a four-year low and a fairly dramatic decrease from the 109,500 who came in the year ending April 2007, net migration is still significantly inward.

    The figure for net migration now stands at 38.5 – although this is nearly half its peak of 71,800 in 2006, it’s still a far cry from the situation twenty years ago. 1988 was one of the peak years for emigration – at that time, net migration stood at -41.9.

    The trends, however, are toward increasing emigration and decreasing immigration. The figures also date to April, and as such wouldn’t show any acceleration in emigration that may or may not have occurred this summer.

    Where are the outward migrants going?

    • 7,000 went to the UK, down from 10,100 in the year ending 2007.
    • 7,400 went to the pre-accession countries of continental Europe, up from 3,200 the year before.
    • 9,000 went to the 12 countries of the EU accession states, up from 7,000 last year.
    • 2,200 are reported to have gone to the US, down from 2,900.
    • 19,800 went to the “Rest of the World”, with 11,300 of those going to Australia and Oceania.

    The CSO also released statistics today showing that the unemployment rate has risen to 5.1%. There are now 115,000 people unemployed.

    HSE sending children abroad involuntarily for care

    Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

    A local newspaper report has revealed that it is HSE policy to send troubled children out of the country  to as far away as the US – for services that they say are not available in Ireland. The report says that children are being held against their will, without physical contact with their families, and have had their passports confiscated.

    The Mayo News is reporting this week that five teenagers who had been put into the care of the Health Service Executive are now in the Boys Town camp in Nebraska. The first teen was sent from Roscommon two years ago as part of what the newspaper calls ‘an experiment’; three more may be sent out by the end of May. The paper reports that it is the ordinary policy of the programme to only hold children against their will for a six-month period; after that, they are ordinarily free to leave. However, the passports of the Irish children have been confiscated, and a number of them have been kept against their will for six months, according to the report.

    Another issue raised in the report is that it is Boys Town policy to encourage visits between families and children, but Irish parents have been denied access to their children.

    The HSE acknowledged that its policy is to send young people abroad sometimes, in a statement to the newspaper:

    From time to time the HSE use facilities outside its jurisdiction, including facilities in the UK and USA. These children are under the care of the HSE and are sent under the direction of the court for specialised treatment that is not available in Ireland. There would be regular reviews, care plans and ongoing contact between these facilities and HSE staff.

    Kieran McGrath, a child welfare consultant told the Today FM’s evening drivetime programme that there are over 5,000 children in care in Ireland and about ten have been sent out of the country because the services the HSE says they need are not available here.

    Of reports that they are being held against their will, Mr McGrath said, “Youngsters always want to go home, it doesn’t matter whether they are far away or near at home, youngsters will always want to go home, regardless of the circumstances.”

    The newspaper concludes its report with the following:

    In 1778, many Irish children that misbehaved were sent to New Zealand’s Botany Bay. It is astounding that 230 years later, children are still being sent to remote camps in far-flung parts of the world as a solution to their behavioural problems.

    See the Mayo Echo website.

    US agency warns of tighter ID requirements

    Friday, May 16th, 2008

    The Emerald Isle Immigration Center in the US and the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers are alerting us to heightened security measures in the US that will tighten requirements on documents needed to pass through  checkpoints.  Anyone travelling through the US must have proper ID when crossing the border and even when travelling internally.

    The press release says:

    The Emerald Isle Immigration Center has warned travelers in the US that security at checkpoints will tighten considerably in May, as part of an overall security measure to catch those on ‘watch lists’. The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration issued statements last week announcing “greater clarity” on the types of identification that will only be accepted from next month at checkpoints in the United States.

    The new measures will require that travelers produce official state-issued or federal ID to pass through checkpoints as of May 26, 2008. From that date onwards, all adult passengers aged 18 and over, will be required to show a US federal or state-issued photograph ID that contains their name, date of birth, gender, expiration date of the ID and a tamper-resistant feature. Official ID Documents that have acceptable features include Driver’s Licenses, US or foreign government-issued passport, US passport card, DHS “Trusted Traveler” cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST), US Military ID, Permanent Resident Card, Border Crossing Card, DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license, State-issued driver’s license (from a state that received REAL ID extension), a Native American Tribal Photo ID, an airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan, a Canadian provincial driver’s license and an Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card.

    Samples of acceptable documents can be found at (PDF,

    Non-US/Canadian citizens are not required to carry their passports if they have US-issued documents or individual states, such as driver’s licenses or Permanent Resident Cards. Those people who do not have US-issued documents are now expected to be carrying their passports while visiting the US. In a statement explaining why the new measures were being enforced, the TSA said: “This standardization of the list of accepted documents better aligns TSA with other DHS components, including Customs and Border Protection, and REAL ID benchmarks.

    “Between April 28 and May 26, passengers who present a photo ID that does not include a name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature will be reminded of the upcoming changes at the checkpoint. After May 26, passengers who do not present an acceptable ID may be subject to additional screening.”

    Increased scrutiny and the additional requirements for government issued-identification by TSA while flying within the US carries the risk that foreign passports may be closely examined and result in further inquiry about immigration status. While there is no uniform policy or procedure in place by the TSA in this regard, there have been instances where individuals suspected to be undocumented have been turned over to the immigration enforcement authorities by TSA. Handwritten passports or passports issued within the US without entry stamps may be considered red flags and lead to further questioning.

    Let diaspora return, says Irish-America

    Friday, May 9th, 2008

    Two pleas from Irish America calling for changes to make it easier for the diaspora to come to Ireland were published in the last week.

    In the first, Rose Foley of Boston writes in the Irish Times that she has sought for the last eleven years to find a way to work in Ireland – but her status as a fourth-generation Irish-American prevents her from doing so.  She is one generation removed from eligibility for citizenship, so her only option would be to get sponsorship through employment – but she has found that she cannot find work without a visa and cannot get a visa without a job. And since any employer would have to prove that no one in the EU could do the job before she could be hired, this avenue is not likely to lead to success.

    Invoking David McWilliams’ recent call for Ireland to welcome back its diaspora for the sake of its economic growth, and in recognition of their “deep, vested interest in our culture”, she says, “The time has come to welcome us back.”

    The second request to open the doors to the diaspora appeared in a letter to the editor from an Irish emigrant living in Philadelphia.  Cian de Buitleir has an Irish-American partner who is not eligible for citizenship, and notes that he has met many Irish-Americans who have strong interest in Irish culture, history and the language.  He says, “India offers its diaspora recognition, residency and work permits through the ‘Person of Indian Origin’ (PIO) card,” and suggests that Ireland would benefit both economically and culturally by giving the diaspora a route to move to Ireland.

    The next time that you hear a call for legalising the Irish in America or for a united Ireland, maybe you should reflect on whether we should first undo the hypocrisy of Irish immigration law and simply reunite the Irish, because charity begins at home.

    These people will fortify the Irish economy.

    These are no longer the ‘poor huddled masses’, these are the people who built nations.

    Now is the time to take a leap of faith and offer tangible immigration benefits through ‘affirmative action’ to the Irish diaspora.

    The letter has prompted dozens of comments on the Irish Independent website.

    See the two articles:

    Wavelengths: Irish and American Music. UCD: Sept 2008

    Thursday, May 8th, 2008

    The UCD Clinton Institute for American Studies will host a conference exploring musical links between Ireland and the US.

    Organisers say

    This event has been conceived a by a group of scholars, musicians and producers to provide a focus for performance and study of Irish and American musical relations. These relations have a long and deep history, intertwining the cultures and identities of Irish and American peoples. The event will explore and celebrate these relations via a programme that combines conference presentations and musical performances.

    Wavelengths will focus on the back-and-forwards movement of musical traditions between Ireland and the United States and identify newer currents and fusions in transatlantic music. We invite proposals for conference presentations – individual papers and panels. Conference themes will include, but will not be limited to:

    • Race and ethnicity
    • Nation and identity
    • Class and work
    • Innovators (performers, technicians, collectors, commentators)
    • Emigration and diaspora
    • Historical events
    • New technologies
    • Scotch-Irish influences
    • Genres – traditional, folk, country, rock, jazz, soul, Celtic punk, hip hop…
    • Social functions of music
    • Representations of music in other media – film, photography, literature

    Brief abstracts (200 words) plus a short biographical statement should be sent to Catherine Carey at by 1st June 2008.

    See the UCD Clinton Institute for American Studies website.

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