Europe

Ireland crisis: 'I cannot wait to get away'

Claire Jackson
Image caption Claire Jackson says she hasn't been able to find a permanent job

As the Irish government accepts up to 90bn euros (£77bn; $124bn) of EU-led loans amid calls for a general election, many of the country's young people are planning to emulate their ancestors and emigrate in pursuit of work.

The unemployment rate is above 13% and an estimated 100,000 people are expected to leave by 2014, with Australia and New Zealand among the most popular destinations.

Here, Claire Jackson, 30, from Cork, talks about her wish to move to the UK next year.

"I am currently unemployed and living back at home with my mother.

Any doubts I had about emigrating faded this week. I cannot wait three, five or ten years to get my life back.

It's either emigrate or wait for the Irish economy to pick up again.

I will be moving to the UK next year. It is very difficult to save while on the dole but I am determined.

I cannot wait to get away from here and that is a heartbreaking thing to say.

I worked in retail but last year I became quite ill and had to leave work.

As a result I had to move back to my mother's house as I couldn't afford to pay my rent.

The dole here is 196 euros which sounds quite generous when compared to the UK but our cost of living is quite high.

I am grateful for our social welfare system, as flawed as it is.

Initially, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt signing on. I had never been out of work. I always had a part-time job while at school and university and, as soon as I could, I started working full time.

Access to employment was easy in booming Ireland. But not anymore. I have been extremely lucky to have secured some temporary work, a day here and there, but nothing permanent.

I volunteer with two different charities and run an acting class for a brain injury charity (which has suffered quite severe funding cuts) as a way of filling my time but also as a way of retraining.

Eventually I would like to work full-time as a drama teacher and am trying to get qualifications in this field.

I honestly don't know if there is any hope for young people in Ireland.

My sister, who is in her mid-20s, is currently in full-time education.

She has been lucky enough to get a part-time job within her chosen industry but her hours have been cut back to one day.

She has another 12 months left in her studies and after that she will be emigrating.

Only last night she applied for a position in the United States but Irish citizens require a green-card or sponsor to work there, so hopefully things will work out for her.

My friend, a nurse, is on a two-year waiting list to emigrate to Australia on their skilled workers' programme.

I watched the bail-out press conference last night. It was incredibly sad. The anger, confusion and sense of loss was palpable.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen couldn't tell us how much the bailout would be, how it would be drawn down, how long it would take to get us back on track.

He could, however, tell us that he was not to blame for our current situation. So who is to blame? Me?

I am starting to sense that maybe I and people like me are to blame because it is we, the Irish people, who are paying with our jobs, livelihoods, health care and education."

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