A mother from south Donegal has accused the Government of “wearing blinkers” on the emigration epidemic which is sweeping the county and added that they are also concealing the true figures of unemployment.
The woman from Frosses who asked not to be named is a mother of three. She already has one of her own daughters living in Australia and fears that her remaining two children are presently being ‘educated for export’.
Recent figures from ESRI show that the situation has now reached crisis level with 76,400 people emigrating last year and a further 75,000 expected to leave this year.
Last year 24,000 left for Australia which represented a 33% increase on the previous year.
The woman told the Donegal Democrat, “I have no political agenda but this Government are wearing blinkers when it comes to emigration. They have no idea of the amount of young people that have left this county in the last number of years and are fooling the people with their unemployment figures - the only reason unemployment is down is that all the young people are gone.
“Every day, every week people are leaving Donegal in their droves - I have no official figures but I would honestly believe that thousands have left this county alone.
Last Saturday morning two people from Ardara, two from Donegal Town, three from Frosses and three from Mountcharles left the Diamond in Donegal Town for Australia - the weekend before five left from Glenties.
“These are all educated young people and I feel I must ask the question ‘Are we educating our youth for export?’”
She said that she had been disgusted by recent comments and media reports that many were opting for a change in lifestyle and were going of there on choice.
“One of the lads last weekend said to me before he left, ‘I don’t want to go, I want to stay at home but at least next week I’ll have a reason to get out of the bed’. We are losing a whole generation here in Donegal - another lad contacted me recently on Facebook and remarked that he got on a bus recently in Perth and that there were 27 people on the bus that he knew.
“People see the lovely sunny beach photographs up on Facebook which gives the impression that everything is rosy in the garden - did all the ‘returning yanks’ not give the same impression years ago?
“Things are not that rosy out there - many are working on farms, others in the mines and many sleeping in dormitories - they have to do this to get their visas for the second year.”
She added: “At a club meeting last week we were trying to get names together for future team development and the same answers just kept cropping up -’Oh, he’s gone away to Canada or Australia or wherever’. Its becoming practically impossible to even get a team together at this stage.
“The lifeblood is being sucked out of our community.”