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    The budget, young people and emigration: the word from Twitter

    By Noreen Bowden | December 15, 2009

    It was heartbreaking to watch the Twitter feed while listening to last week’s budget speech from Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. In the last decade, the government has done so much to redress the omissions of the past regarding Ireland’s relationship with the diaspora. Since the publication of the Task Force Report on Policy Regarding Emigration in 2002, the government has acknowledged its debt to our emigrants, established the Irish Abroad Unit, initiated a dramatic increase in funding to emigrant services, and has undertaken innovative projects such as the recent Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh. There has been much reason to feel positive about the Irish government’s role in ending the involuntary emigration of years past, and to believe in its sincerity in addressing the many problems that beset Irish communities around the world as they tried to help aging or isolated emigrants and the undocumented in the US.

    All of these improvements of recent years, however, appear to be threatened by the current crisis and the recent upsurge of youth emigration. I have resisted believing any of the news reports suggesting that there is any possibility that anyone in any government department could be hoping for an increase in emigration so as to lower the unemployment rates.

    As I listened to Minister Lenihan’s speech, however, and read the accompanying Twitter feed, it was deeply unsettling to see how many times the word “emigration” was appearing in the tweets of young people’s responses to the budget. Whatever message was intended, many young people clearly interpreted it as a signal that their generation was to be the sacrificial offering to appease the gods of economic disaster.

    I copied as much as I could catch of the relevant postings. Here they are (unedited and uncensored):

    On job creation and the future

    Mark_Coughlan “Never again will our children, like our cattle, be raised for export”. Never until today. #Budget10

    Mark_Coughlan Well, there goes the majority of my qualified, intelligent, unemployed circle of friends to Canada/Australia. Cheers Brian.#Budget10

    robserver How exactly jobs are going to be created is quite unclear. Emigration it is, lads. I’m outta here on 1st July 2010. #budget10

    BreffniOS There is no incentive to create jobs or industry, no long term planning. Prepare for mass graduate emigration.

    gavreilly Sparing a thought for UCD students who went into exams at 3pm and come out at 5pm to the prospect of unavoidable emigration.

    murf61 @MickFealty I can see emigration numbers rising dramatically over the next 2-3 years

    KeithM #budget10 Emigration, Ireland’s only contribution to the World!

    mrsjotaylor well, there goes the youth *emigration#budget10

    danielshi @Padraig Emigration for me too. I wonder what percentage of people here are on the way out?

    RachelMorrogh Glad I’ll be in Canada before the influx of unemployed under-22s reaches those shores #budget10

    @IMJ_Ireland Young people of Ireland….time for the emigrant boat #budget10

    dlooney Lets be honest here – the Governmdnt WANT plenty of young ppl to fuck off and emigrate – it’s a safety valve. Won’t admit it tho #budget10

    laurak88 he’s not makin it very easy for young people who want to stay in ireland to do so-well done lads *mass exodus to the airport #budget10

    tvcritics It takes Brian Lenihan just 1/2 an hour to kick start mass emigration of the young #Budget10 fuck you Fianna Fáil

    itslauraduggan People get the hell out of Ireland while you can #budget10

    activedan I’ve got a plane ticket for Wales leaving first thing in the morning. i may not return! #budget10

    DiarmaidONeill well I look forward to emigrating once I graduate thanks for ruining Ireland for my generation -don’t tax the remittances though #budget10

    Kelly_McGrath I’m getting more and more tempted… RT @rebeccameehan#budget10 I wonder how many of my friends are going to leave the country…

    eoinbannon @donalmulligan We’re not all doomed to emigrate but some of us are.Maybe not tomorrow. But young people wont hang around long on €150 a week

    nightphaser On people calling for emigration in the face of policy: If the good ones leave, only the bad ones will remain to do as they please.

    GracieMcKenna #budget10 – it’s definitely time to think about emigrating!!! ‘The worst is over’… I think I’ll reserve judgement on that one!

    tpohare So, where’s everyone else planning on emigrating to? #budget10

    Belindamckeon so the choice for young people: emigrate or drink yourself into oblivion on cheaper booze. wahey! #budget10

    dlooney Rumours that maintenance grants will be down more than 5%. Less working class kids for college, more for emigration.#budget10

    robserver How exactly jobs are going to be created is quite unclear.Emigration it is, lads. I’m outta here on 1st July 2010. #budget10

    BreffniOS There is no incentive to create jobs or industry, no long term planning. Prepare for mass graduate emigration.

    stevedaley #budget10 is the most exemplary recipe for returning to the 1980s… Irish political elite have surrendered the goal of job creation. many of my friends are going to leave the country…

    On history

    Spaghettihoop So we raise our children as ship and plane-fodder. Again?#budget10

    Robbiecousins No jobs in this, at least the last Lenihan suggested sponsoring people to leave the country #budget10

    handelaar @twentymajor @markcoughlan The Dev Strategy. Deny expat voting, then force everyone who hates you to emigrate.

    @bioniclaura The emigration pressure valve is a tried and tested measure used down the years by our political classes.

    The Kennedy centre announcement

    thomasbrunkard Inauguration of President Kennedy probably proved that emigration was a great opportunity Brian. #Budget10

    niamhsmith @KeyboardCouch the Kennedys who had the good sense to emigrate, I might add! #budget10

    cormacflynn Ted Kennedy thing is laughable. We’ll be building monuments to other successful emigrants after this budget #budget10

    KatWaters Bet Alistair Darlings wishes he could have announced funding for a new theme park to highlight the opps that come with emigration. #budget10

    RealBLenihan He’s really setting up an Emigration Centre? Should come in handy. #budget10

    KeyboardCouch @niamhsmith and many more young people will be following their example thanks to this mess so maybe it’s fitting #budget10

    RosettaBroy RT @BandF: Stemming emigration would have been a better tribute to Ted Kennedy http://bit.ly/4BPyzE

    FieldNStream RT @Mimi_Mir Smoke & mirrors! Ireland is f*ck*d! Brutal attack on S.W.! Time 2 start swimming! & as for Ted Kennedy tribute-joke!

    Tax on the tax exiles

    CharteredAccIrl #budget10 radical new rules for ‘tax exiles’ – being Irish just got expensive!

    DiarmaidONeill well I look forward to emigrating once I graduate thanks for ruining Ireland for my generation -don’t tax the remittances though #budget10

    NooneCasey Farmleigh Levy – Irish domicile levy of €200k on Diaspora who came back to help! #budget10

    And the word from abroad…

    johnpaulfoxe I am so glad I don’t live in Ireland anymore! #budget10

    irishassoc recommends moving to winnipeg, canada #budget10

    irishassoc new Irish emigrants always welcomed warmly #budget10

    Topics: Latest News | 1 Comment »

    One Response to “The budget, young people and emigration: the word from Twitter”

    1. Young unemployed believe government relying on them to emigrate | globalirish.ie – about Irish emigration and the diaspora Says:
      January 25th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      [...] At the time, it seemed clear, judging from young people’s responses on Twitter, that many youths were viewing the lack of jobs initiatives and the cuts being made in social welfare as d…. How depressing to see this more formally [...]

    Comments