The Mayor of Buncrana has said emigration is ripping the heart out of his town.
Councillor Peter McLaughlin’s comments come after the disclosure yesterday that star GAA player and All-Ireland football medalist Ryan Bradley is to emigrate.
According to media reports Bradley, a plasterer by trade, and currently unemployed, is to depart early next month to Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
It is understood he has secured employment out there through family connections and is initially going for a three month period.
Bradley was first drafted into the Donegal squad in 2005 by Brian McEniff. He was 19 at the time and played under McEniff and Brian McIvor before opting out for a time during John Joe Doherty’s reign.
He was recalled by Jim McGuinness at the end of 2010. Bradley was living and working in Boston at the time when he got the ‘phone call from McGuinness.
He was quoted as saying after receiving the call from McGuinness: “I talked to Jim once and after that conversation he had it drummed into my head. If I hadn’t have come back after that ‘phone call I’d have been better just to give up football.”
But now it seems the economic situation has caught up with him once again.
Speaking with the Journal yesterday Mayor McLaughlin said he was saddened by the player’s decision.
“What can I say? Ryan is no different from most other young person in this town.
“It was bad when Fruit of the Loom closed and it has just got progressively worse. We have been haemorrhaging jobs at an awful rate since 2007.”
In a quite an emotional conversation the Mayor said recently he watched a couple of young people get out of a van, run into a shop and buy crisps and lemonade. One young fella then crossed the street and hugged a young girl. It was only then he realised they were emigrating.
“They were just kids. Emigration is tearing the heart out of this community.
“Some years back too I had to drive a family to Dublin as there son was emigrating. Along the way I caught a look on the father’s face. He was hurting something awful. Elven years on that son is still in America and I doubt if he has been home once.”
He concluded: “I hope we can put this nightmare behind us soon. We need some sort of focus on Inishowen to get jobs here. We urgently need help before there are no young people left in this town.”