Launching a report on Youth Emigration by the National Youth Council of Ireland, MEP Marian Harkin says the government must now live up to its responsibilities to emigrants.
MEP Marian Harkin urged the government to aaccept the recommendations to have a Junior Minister given responsibility for emigrants.
The Ballintogher, County Sligo native said: “The opportunity now exists to provide valuable low cost ‘in time’ supports to our emigrants which, to be fully effective, will need a co-ordinating influence at Ministerial level. Most of the recommendations in the National Youth Council’s report can be implemented immediately, or within a short time, as they require very few resources.
“In particular there is a need for a one stop shop web portal which can guide emigrants on issues such as qualifications needed or special requirements for entry into particular professions applicable in different countries. Access to health services where immediate registration with a GP is necessary in order to avoid months of delay to obtain services is an important issue which needs to be highlighted.
“A significant and long overdue way of maintaining contact with our emigrants would be to enjoin them in our electoral processes. Expat voting is a feature of the electoral systems of many countries and at least the opportunity to participate in reformed Seanad elections would be an acknowledgement of their continued membership of the Irish nation”, Marian Harkin MEP concluded.