The Irish Times is a fair and balanced newspaper chronicling the hard times that all of us live today and these days, the times are hard with flooding hitting homes and businesses in the south of the country, gas and electricity prices set to rise again in the new year, Karl Wallace resigning as Artistic Director of Limerick City of Culture and The Voice of Ireland’s Kelly McDonagh Mongan still living in a caravan with no money to buy musical equipment to work professionally.
We also have emigration. Millions of Irishmen and women leaving our shores to find work in the hell holes of America, Australia, Britain & Canada and of course New Zealand. The Irish Times label it Generation Emigration and with these poor souls in mind Alison Healy took a cab to Dublin Airport earlier in the week to write heart wrenching stories of their departure or return home . . . or whatever . . .
“There were lots of hugs and kisses at the departure gates before Maeve and John Hardiman let their family go. Their son Niall was returning to Chicago with his wife Katie and children Johnny (3) and Nina (4 months).” wrote Alison. I almost cried when I read this. These two brave Irish persons, who conceivably saved for years just to return home for one more Christmas in order to holiday with their family and elderly parents. Possibly this visit was their last in the auld sod. “We’ll see them in the summer, hopefully,” said John. “And there’s Skype. Thank God for it. It’s just wonderful.”
Alison also spoke with Sharon and her new husband, Michael, who were “embarking on their honeymoon to several far-flung places, starting in Dubai”, and my heart bled when I read that, I felt I that couldn’t continue but I owed it to Alison and those outside the departure gates, I needed to hear their stories, such as Mary Kerwin’s, who slowly waved as her sister and two teenage nieces went through, heading for California. They could only return every second year but unfortunately always during our wet summers and this was Mary’s sister’s first Christmas at home in 26 years . . .
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Who is to blame for these horror stories, could it be the Roman Catholic Church? As I read on though I found that it’s more than likely the fault of the Irish Government as Keith O’Gorman told Alison that if the Government promised him a job, well, he might return home, but maybe not as he was doing alright in Perth.
Hard times indeed . . .