An example of the destructive return of emigration is the village of Gneeveguilla in County Kerry. Gneeveguilla is well known for its Athletics club which epitomised the spirit of Irish communities - a communal spirit, a volunteer ethos, a sense of local pride.
Another expression of that local spirit is naturally the local GAA club. Gneeveguilla is a small village and emigration can quickly make its mark. The BBC noted that the local GAA club is being particulary hard hit by emigration (and isn't it typical that we must rely on foreign media to bring such a story to our attention rather than having RTE report on it. State broadcaster? yeah right!)
Emigration has made such an impact that the local GAA chairman is worried about the team’s collapse because so many players are likely to have eimgrated in the near future.
The collapse of the Irish construction industry hit rural Ireland especially hard. As economist Ronan Lyons demonstrated construction of new housing was particularly feverish in the west. Voters in Kerry and elsewhere would do well to remember that the reason their sons and daughters are emigrating is because the Govt. singularly failed to build a sustainable economy. All the way up the west coast in Donegal they will face the exact same problem. While the govt. dallies over the Donegal By Election the rate of unemployment for males under 25 in Donegal is estimated at up to 75% making Donegal a youth unemployment blackspot.
The Economic and Social Research Institute estimated that 120,000 will have emigrated in 2010 and 2011 combined, if the current rate continues.
Additional proof of the scale was evident last week when Eurostat revealed figures showing that the south of Ireland had the highest net outflow of population in the EU.
Once again the prospect of Irish communities withering away is a possible future.
We have been here before. John Healy famously shouted stop about the looming death of his homebirth place Charlestown. He firmly pointed the finger at the failed policies of the Govt. which did so little to save small town Ireland.
43 years later we need another John Healy as history repeats itself. Ogra Shinn Fein are currently running a campaign to highlight the current level of Emigration in Ireland