You can see them every day at Dublin’s International Airport. Couples locked in teary embraces, damp-eyed mums and dads farewelling sons and daughters. Friends promising to stay in touch.
1000 people are leaving each week, heading to the four corners of the world in search of work and a better life. Many, like electrician Alan Niland and chef Sean Sherry are going to Australia.
“Leaving here is a big thing and everyone doesn’t want to go. It’s a last resort really.” ALAN NILAND Irish Electrician
Alan‘s heading to Melbourne and the promise of a job with an Irish electrician. Sean Sherry has been unemployed for the first time in a 25 year career and his fruitless job search has dragged on for 12 months. He now has no choice but to leave his girlfriend and her daughter and take up a job offer on a cruise ship operating from Australia. He has to work to service the mortgage on a house that has crashed in value.
“I was driving home one day and I just had a panic attack. What will I do? (I was) on the motorway. I had to pull in. I was just panicking: ‘what will I do?’ My God, I can’t get a job.” SEAN SHERRY Irish Chef
Sean and Alan are the human faces of a savagely battered economy. Ireland flew fast and high on the back of easy money and a contrived real estate boom. When the GFC hit, highly leveraged economies like Iceland, Greece and Ireland were disasters waiting to happen.
“We went from being a country with a banking system to a banking system with a country stuck onto it because the banks became three times bigger than the gross national product of the country” DAVID McWILLIAMS Economist
As Ireland prepares to go to the polls looking to punish politicians complicit in the economic failure and hoping for a government that can lead them out of the mess, reporter Emma Alberici examines the harrowing human experiences surrounding Ireland’s Generation Exit.
“All our young people are going. It’s not only the immigrants that have come into the country and gone home. It’s all our young people, all our own are going.” RITA NILAND Alan Niland’s mum.
Report by Emma Alberici - ABC.