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Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
goodbye ireland

'If things are so successful, why are people still leaving the country?'

Richard Bruton has come under fire as he claims “substantial progress” on jobs.

TENS OF THOUSANDS more people may be in jobs now than at the peak of the recession but the government has failed to stop talented young Irish people abandoning the country.

Fianna Fáil jobs spokesman Dara Calleary has accused the government of failing to stem the tide of emigration – particularly among those under 35 - despite the administration claiming success with its job-creation plans.

“If things are so successful, why are people still leaving the country and why is the talent still leaving?,” he said.

He made the comments at an Oireachtas Jobs Committee meeting today after Jobs Minister Richard Bruton claimed “substantial progress” had been made on goals set under the 2012 “action plan for jobs”.

Calleary Fianna Fáil's Dara Calleary at the Jobs Committee today

Bruton earlier said the government had set a target of getting 100,000 people back at work by 2016 and the the latest figures showed about 90,000 people had returned to work with the gains coming in full-time jobs.

He also said there had also been a 30% drop in the level of net migration – from 34,000 people leaving the country in 2013 to 21,000 last year.

Emigration is going in the right direction … and I believe it has come down since then as well,” he said.

Those figures were based on the most-recent figures from the CSO which cover the year ending in April 2014.

Migration CSO CSO

Irish still emigrating

However an analysis of the same data shows the emigration level among Irish people has barely changed over the same period after peaking in 2013.

Last year the net migration figure was still in negative territory with more than 30,000 more Irish nationals emigrating than those who were moving back. The total was last in positive figures in 2009, when 3,800 more locals returned than left the country.

Bruton said the “only response” to emigration was job creation and the government was on track for its goal of full employment by 2018, which in effect means a jobless rate of about 5%.

Bruton Jobs Minister Richard Bruton

The latest live register figures showed the unemployment rate stood at 10.1% in February.

Bruton said there was “no doubt” emigration had hit the under-35 age bracket the hardest, but many of the jobs now being created were well paid and in highly-skilled positions.

Essentially there is a war for talent in every country in the world. It will take time to get emigration down, but a drop of 30% in emigration over the last 12 months … is a good step.”

READ: These babies helped Enda Kenny declare 2015 ‘the year of rural recovery’ >

READ: Here’s a little help for anyone thinking of emigrating (and for anyone who already has) >

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