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    A look at unemployment rates in destination countries

    Monday, June 15th, 2009

    With the increasing number of news reports about unemployed people seeking to emigrate, it’s useful to look at unemployment rates in a number of destination countries. These are, of course, only guidelines – no doubt there are national differences in the methods of compiling these statistics that make it difficult to make accurate comparisons.

    Ireland’s unemployment rate is 11.8%. Here are the rates in some of the countries most commonly considered by those seeking to emigrate:

    “I never thought I’d have to leave”, says 23-year-old London-based emigrant

    Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

    A quick, disturbing vignette excerpted from Olivia O’Leary’s “Viewpoint” article on the BBC website.

    For James Mooney, 23, and his generation, the crash is particularly galling.

    While Mr Mooney was studying to be a surveyor, his lecturer told them they would all be millionaires by the time they were 35, such was the construction and property boom at the time.

    Instead he is one of the new breed of Irish emigrants, living in a house in London with five other Irish people in their twenties, in a position none of them ever dreamed they would face.

    “Getting dropped back to Dublin airport, that’s when it hits home, that you’re leaving again,” says Mr Mooney.

    “Sunday nights, flying back to London. I dread it.

    “You see the same faces at the airport now. I never thought I’d have to leave.”

    Read Olivia O’Leary’s article on the BBC website – “Ireland: boom to bust”

    “I Only Came Over for a Couple of Years” records experience of London Irish

    Monday, May 11th, 2009

    Yet another oral history project detailing the experience of elderly Irish emigrants has come to your correspondent’s attention. “I Only Came Over for a Couple of Years”, a documentary that was completed in 2005, is now available on DVD from the Irish Studies Centre of London Metropolitan University. The film is a collection of interviews of Irish elders who came over to London between the 1930s and 1960s.

    The DVD is a production of the Irish Elders Now project, which is aimed at building a substantial video and oral record of a generation of Irish migrants to Britain whose stories and experiences have been underrepresented in other official records.

    For more information and to order the DVD, visit the Irish Studies Centre website.

    Ireland’s Hidden Diaspora examines abortion trail

    Monday, May 11th, 2009

    “Ireland’s Hidden Diaspora: The ‘abortion trail’ and the making of a London-Irish Underground, 1980-2000″ by Ann Rossiter tells the story of the London-Irish women who have supported many of the Irish women who have travelled to Britain for abortions.

    The book, which was launched in Dublin on Wednesday by Senator Ivana Bacik,  is an oral history record of the Irish Women’s Abortion Support Group and the Irish Abortion Solidarity Campaign. Author Anne Rossiter is a Limerick-born campaigner who has lived in London for 25 years.

    Related web pages:

    Irish Times: The kindness of strangers who helped Irish women abandoned by the State

    Federation of Irish Societies: Book Launch: Ireland’s Hidden Diaspora

    Irish in Britain Seminar: London, May-June 2009

    Monday, May 11th, 2009

    The Irish Studies Centre at London Metropolitan University is hosting their annual “Irish in Britain Seminar Series”.The series is is an informal opportunity for any interested in engaging with current issues and research about the Irish in Britain.

    • Tuesday 26 May, Prof Bronwen Walter, Anglia Ruskin University
      Fictional Irish Presences in English Diaspora Space: a Social Science Exploration
    • Tuesday 2 June, Dr Ann Rossiter
    • “Hidden Histories: The Irish ‘Abortion Trail’ and the Undercover Support Network within the London-Irish Community
    • Wednesday 10 June, Dr Nicole McLennan, London Metropolitan University
      Irish Connections: London’s County Associations
    • Tuesday 16 June, Dr Reg Hall
      Researching the Irish in Britain: Methodological Approaches

    For more information:

    Irish in Britain Seminar Series 2009

    New Irish in London face hard times, says paper

    Monday, March 23rd, 2009

    The Irish Times has carried a bleak article on recent Irish arrivals in London. Reporter Carl O’Brien points out the dramatic change that has occurred with the downturn:

    For many younger people, the maudlin emigration songs with their tales of yearning and aching loneliness felt like stories from a distant era. Suddenly, they don’t feel so remote anymore. As the shutters are pulled down on job opportunities at home, the harsh prospect of having to find work abroad is all too real for thousands of young people.

    This statement is from 29-year-old who has left his four-year-old behind in Portlaoise and now working 12-hour shifts six or seven days a week:

    “You miss home, you miss your family, you miss your friends. I was training a soccer team at home. Every time I ring my son, it’s, ‘are you collecting me today, Daddy’, so that’s tough. Any chance I get to go home, I take it to try and see him and the family. With the job here, though, it’s hard to know when you’ll be free.?

    The article highlights a few reasons to be optimistic about this generation of emigrants. Today’s young people tend to be better educated and more confident than in the past. Danny Maher, chief executive of Cricklewood Homeless Concern told the paper,

    “I think this is a totally different group of people. This generation is better able to adapt and they’re more globally-minded. If someone is in a vulnerable position, through drink or drugs or whatever, this is the last place they should be . . . These days, the Irish are more likely to be in the wealthier suburbs – they don’t need safety in numbers anymore. That can only be a positive thing.?

    Local GAA clubs report that they are assisting people with jobs and contacts, while the London Irish Centre in Camden reports getting four or five people a week in need of emergency assistance. Peter Hammond says,

    “In the old days you could just turn up at a construction site looking for ‘the start’. Those days are gone. You need accreditation, training, national insurance numbers.

    “We always had a trickle of vulnerable people with drink or drug problems here during the boom. But now there are jobless people ending up homeless or in need of emergency support. We have a fund for repatriations. I’d say we’re putting someone on a Ryanair flight back to Ireland on a weekly basis.?

    Read the article on the Irish Times website: Hard times for Irish in London.

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