On August 28th 2018, Moving2Ireland stepped bravely into the world with one simple goal: to provide clear and objective information for those who wanted to move to the Emerald Isle. 12 months on, as we celebrate Moving2Ireland’s first birthday, I am proud to say that we have stayed true to this core principle. Along the way we have learned a lot. But what exactly? How has our understanding of our community’s needs developed and evolved since last August? What about Brexit? To help answer these questions, I have enrolled the help of some of my colleagues. I hope you enjoy it.
“Should I stay or should I go?” – Patrick, Editor
“Should I stay or should I go?” is a question that has been on the lips of Irish emigrants for years and it is one that we have tried our best to answer since launching the site last August. I like to think that through our advocacy work, our community-centred blog (with stories from our members), and detailed articles we have been able to do so.
The recent decision by the Irish government to introduce a streamlined pre-clearance programme for non-European partners of Irish citizens seeking to move to in Ireland is a real positive step for returning emigrants and their partners. This is an issue that Ruairi (Moving2Ireland’s founder) raised with the Minister for the Diaspora Ciaran Cannon on a number of occasions during the past 12 months and we were very pleased to see real change being enacted. A reduction in the number of mandatory driving lessons for those who need an Irish driving license upon returning home was also a step in the right direction. However, despite this progress, issues remain.
Challenges around securing a mortgage persist for Irish citizens, while the exorbitant car insurance fees faced by many returning motorists, and the cost of accommodation in Dublin make the transition to life in Ireland far from straight-forward. Perhaps most worrying are the findings from the 2019 Central Statistics Office (CSO) data which show that more Irish citizens left the country than returned to it in the year to April. This is particularly disappointing after this trend was bucked in 2018.
Many returning emigrants feel that their voice isn’t being heard and are voting with their feet. As we mark Moving2Ireland’s first birthday we also look to the future, where we will continue to amplify the concerns of Irish emigrants in the next year and I hope that moving back to Ireland will be a more attractive proposition in 2020.