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Ireland Abandoners: Love or leave?

It caused massive controversy and has been removed from Facebook after multiple complaints. But did the “Irish Abandoners” page have a point? The Daily Shift’s Sean Defoe has more… 

Emigration has become a reality for many young Irish people

Emigration has become a reality for many young Irish people

UPDATE: The Ireland Abandoners page has been removed from Facebook.

“Take down your tri-colours, you are not worthy of flying them and are not welcome back so stay where you are because the Irishness is better off without you!” – Ireland Abandoners Facebook page.

A new page has emerged on Facebook and Twitter in the past week blasting the thousands of people who have emigrated from Ireland in the last few years. Massive numbers of young people have left our shores and this page asks the question, who is going to fix the place if everyone runs away?

The page, run anonymously, has drawn massive abuse from the Irish diaspora that it targets, meaning any reasonable debate on the page results in slurs, insults and unforgivable crimes against grammar. Proving my point another page was started in response to this, the eloquently titled ‘Ireland Abandoners MY ARSE’.

However after trying to decipher what many people mean in their comments (with some help from Google translate), there are some very good points made about the state of this country.

Who IS going to fix it?

The Ireland Abandoners page claims that; “Realising that the building trade had gone they (young people) began to diversify, they learned new trades and got better educations. They became inventive, started new businesses and contributed to the recovery of a broken Ireland.”

In many cases this is true. A lot of young people realise that they have to work harder to get ahead than maybe the last generation did. While predecessors rode the Celtic Tiger we’re left footing the bill. There is a sense however that if you can make it during a recession you’ll be able to fully capitalise when the economy eventually turns around. To this end many people have gone into education as an alternative to signing on to social welfare.

On the business front many people have more confidence starting small businesses and even if they are ultimately unsuccessful the initiative and will to take the risk is a positive sign.

Though realistically, we’re not the ones who are going to fix it. We can play a part sure, but realistically young people have no influence in this country over the political agenda. How many times exactly were we promised that the third-level fees wouldn’t be touched? The decisions that will bring this country around are being made, or not made, in Europe. Bank deals, interest rates, bondholders and all those other factors that give the general public headaches are what will decide our economic future.

We can be positive and enterprising and good little Europeans, but it’s not going to make a massive difference.

The Abandoners

“If they had all stayed at home there would have been a greater population, greater population needs fed (opportunities for more shops), people want drink (opportunities for more pubs) people need lifts home (opportunities for more taxis) instead of running away like cowards into burrows or mines or whatever they call the places that cowards run to.” – Ireland Abandoners

With statements like the one above I can hardly blame the Irish diaspora for getting angry at this page.

First of all this seems to suggest that the Irish economy is entirely built around chicken fillet rolls, nights out and taxis home. The Christmas spike in retail sales is as much due to people already at home splashing out as it is to people returning home for the holidays.

Secondly the people who emigrated are hardly cowards. Faced with no realistic prospect of jobs and the promise of a bright present and future abroad, people can’t be blamed for leaving.

The page generalises people who have emigrated. Many fully intend to return and are taking a great opportunity to travel, see the world and learn something about life. On the other side there are some who are out there partying excessively and earning a bad reputation for the Irish.

However the page contradicts itself in the very same post, saying: “Being Irish is more than just where you were born, it is about standing up for yourself and your country, freedom and family not running away and abandoning your country and countrymen.”

Surely then the Irish abroad, those who send pictures back of them proudly flying the tri-colour around the world, are taking a stand for their heritage and their country. Abandoning Ireland would be leaving and keeping no links at all, shying away from your country. But these people abroad are showing their love of flag and country and surely that is something to be celebrated?

This page was set up by someone who is angry at being left behind. More than likely the moderator is a young man who has watched his friends leave over the last few years and is bitter as he feels he has been left alone to fix the mess they left behind. However the damning, sweeping statements made on this page are poor generalisations.

The Irish often leave during a crisis at home, but don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that Ireland leaves them.

Further reading: Student journalist Aoife Bennett gives her opinion as a potential emigrant.

*Note: All quotes have been slightly changed to make grammatical sense. The content of such quotes is not affected by the changes.

*Lead image via Wikimedia Commons


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About seandefoe

Talking, typing, thinking head for hire. DCU Journalism student.

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