Up to 2,000 young people will emigrate from Inishowen in the next two years, and there is no telling when, if ever, any of them will return. That, according to new TD, Padraig MacLochlain is ‘soul destroying’.
Speaking yesterday in the wake of the annoucement that there was had been another slight increase nationally in the unemployment rate the Sinn Fein representative said that Donegal was faring in real terms much worse than the rest of the country.
“The figures for Inishowen - just over 5,000 unemployed - would indicate we have now reached a stage where one-in-three is unemployed. But this figure is even worse - it doesn’t take into account the huge numbers who have emigrated.
“Emigration is killing Inishowen - that’s a definite. I will be very interested to get the data from this year’s census because I think only then will we get the true picture.
The Inishowen TD said he was normally an optimistic person but right now he could see no way forward.
“We are drowning but our so called partners in Europe far from throwing us a lifebelt are putting their feet on our shoulders and pushing us further in.
“We are paying for reckless lending by banks in the big countries - Germany, France, Britain - who loaned money like confetti to Ireland and Portugal in particular. We (Sinn Fein) are saying that they have had a major role in this and that they should seriously change their approach.”
He went on: “What’s happening now is a tragedy. The money that we are taking in from the ECB and the IMF is going straight out to pay the banks, the bond holders and the rest. We haven’t a chance at economic recovery. The money that should be going to create jobs and stimulate economic recovery is not going to where it is needed.
“Entrepreneurs, the life blood of any economy, cannot get credit to set businesses, The middle classes, the lower middle clases and the working classes are getting hit disproportinately with taxes, particularly the Universal Social Charge. They have no money to spend so the wee bars, cafes, local shops are all closing because disposable income has dried up.
“It’s really the perfect storm.
“I’m meeting young people every day who tell me they are emigrating. With a hand on heart I cannot tell them to stay. Stay for what? The really sad part is that they are leaving - about 100,000 young people are expected to emigrate nationally this year - but who can say when they will ever be able to return.
“It’s soul destroying.”.