If you left Ireland between 2008 and 2015, there’s a good chance you did so because you had to.
When the economy collapsed, over 350,000 people left Ireland for a new life abroad. The individuals, couples and even young families affected had little option but to up sticks and move away in search of better job prospects in classrooms in the Middle East, oil fields in Western Canada, and little-known parts of Western Australia, among other far-flung destinations. However, if the decision to leave Ireland was typically made for economic reasons in recent years, opting to move home in 2019 is, for many, a primarily emotional call.
From an economic perspective, Ireland is in a healthier place in 2019 than it was a decade ago. Employment is up, and a lot of the doom and gloom from ten years ago has been replaced with a quiet optimism about the country’s future despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. That said, things are far from perfect.
Unemployment may be below 5 percent right now, but in many sectors wage growth hasn’t matched the increased cost of living. Similarly, the vast majority of the economic development in Ireland has been concentrated in Dublin and its hinterland, while many rural areas have yet to reap the rewards. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that high accommodation costs have made our capital city unlivable for many, and has added to a homelessness crisis worsening every week. However, despite these economic challenges more and more Irish people are returning home.
So, what’s causing this?
While everyone is different, one of the primary motivations for people to move home to Ireland is family. A recent survey from the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), found that 65 percent of companies who have hired Irish workers returning to Ireland found that family was the main reason they returned home. This was in stark contrast to the percentage of respondents who said that they moved home for salary reasons: a whopping zero percent!
This survey indicates a wider trend that I’ve noticed through Moving2Ireland’s work over the past year, where proximity to family becomes a more serious consideration as people get older. Our Returning to Ireland blog contains lots of stories from Irish members of our audience who returned home for that exact reason in recent years.
In addition to the desire to be closer to family, the slower pace of life is a perk for many returning Irish emigrants wishing to move home. Add in the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, raising kids in a familiar environment, and maybe even being at Croke Park on All-Ireland Sunday, and it’s clear to see why so many recent Irish emigrants are returning home.
However, not all members of the Irish diaspora feel this way.