Irish youth look abroad as the cost of living – Yalla Match

As soon as 22-year-old Kate Fitzgerald finishes her studies, she plans to “go” out of her native Ireland. “I can’t stand anything here,” she says. “There is not much hope for the people of our time.”

Ireland’s long history of immigration has seen an estimated 10 million people leave since 1800. While many of them were forced out by famine and economic crises in the past, in recent years young people have been drawn to work abroad or the freedoms of living in more open societies.

But now the tone changes again from pulling to pushing. Rather than being tempted by foreign opportunities, young people complain that the rising cost of living – especially housing – is driving them out of their country.

“I don’t know anyone who plans to stay,” says Fitzgerald, who wants to move to Australia after graduation. “It’s a vicious cycle.”

According to a new survey by the National Youth Council of Ireland, seven in 10 Irish people aged 18-24 are considering traveling abroad in search of a better quality of life. A similar survey in 2012 showed that only 51 percent had considered immigration, New York City reported.

Student Cáit Fitzgerald wants to move to Australia after she graduates. “I don’t know anyone who plans to stay,” she says. © Jude Webber / FT

“Ireland has a long history of immigration, but what’s happening now is different, it’s a different kind of crisis,” said Mary Gilmartin, a professor of geography at Maynooth University and an expert on contemporary migration.

“Whether or not the youth will eventually leave,” Intent [to emigrate] It’s definitely the highest level I’ve ever seen.”

Official data does not yet confirm the exodus. The number of Irish immigrants rose by 21 per cent in the year to April 2022, but this is slightly below pre-Covid levels, according to the Central Statistics Office. It does not divide numbers by age.

Ireland experienced large waves of immigration in the 1950s and 1970s and after the financial crash in 2008. Destinations included the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Dubai. It was all driven by a lack of jobs or the economic crisis. Today, Ireland is getting richer, has huge tax profits from the technology companies that have become the backbone of its economy, and has 2.55 million people in work. Youth unemployment is the lowest in the European Union.

But not all of them are in jobs of sufficient quality to join what Leo Varadkar, the deputy prime minister who will become prime minister in December, calls “Ireland’s democracy”.

Student Rachel Richards works in a restaurant to pay 700 euros a month to rent a room in a shared house © Jude Webber / FT

“My parents bought their first house when they were 26,” says Rachel Richards, a 24-year-old student who works in a restaurant to pay 700 euros a month to rent a room in a shared house, and 5,000 euros per year for college.

“I’ve been stuck here for two years [to finish my psychology course]. Then I will leave. There will be no opportunity to buy a house. It’s just crazy.”

The Central Statistics Office confirmed last week that property prices have now passed the peak of the Celtic Tiger boom in April 2007, with the average house price in the 12 months to July averaging almost €300,000. Ireland is also the most expensive country in the European Union, with housing costs 84 percent more than the mass average between 2010 and 2020, according to EU data.

Asking prices for three-bedroom and semi-detached homes rose sharply across the country – by as much as 45 per cent in Roscommon County in Central Ireland in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, according to a report by stockbroker Davey for MyHome. For example, the real estate site.

And rents are on the rise across the country — new rents rose 9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier — driven by a housing slump.

“I don’t see myself staying here, house prices are too high,” says Ben Murray (19), who recently left school. “I worked in a coffee shop in the summer, but I didn’t even earn enough to pay rent.”

Nathan Manion, head of exhibitions and programs at the Irish Immigration Museum, Epic, said the only historical precedent for the situation today occurred in Ulster in the 18th century, when “land leases were auctioned off to the highest bidder, and a large number people on the left”.

But some young people are still trapped.

“Our young people won’t even see immigration as a possibility,” said Danielle McKenna, director of the Rialto Youth Project, in working-class or rural areas.

“The cost of living pushes them further into poverty,” she said. A whole generation of young people is headed for failure.”

Barra Rowntree, an economist at the independent think tank Institute for Economic and Social Research, said the youth crisis “has everything to do with the housing situation.”

And while employment generally recovered after the financial crisis, by the time the Covid-19 pandemic hit, employment rates for people in their 20s and early 30s – while outperforming other EU countries – had not fully did not recover and their actual earnings were no better. Born in the sixties and seventies.

“we have [already] It was a lost decade for younger adults.

New York City director of policy and advocacy Paul Gordon called on the Irish government to provide support “so young people can stay in this country” when he releases his 2023 budget on September 27.

For some, the decision has already been made. After 12 years in a shared house, 30-year-old Ian Connelly plans to move to France with his partner next year, although he has just opened a cafe in Dublin, which he will run remotely.

“For 700 euros a month I can rent a two-bedroom apartment in Toulouse,” he said. “That’s enough for me.”

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