Oz’ has up to 800 of Buncrana’s young

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With speculation mounting up to 800 Buncrana young people have emigrated one youth worker is warning we’ve far from ‘bottomed out’ on mass emigration.

PJ Hallinan, chairman of Buncrana’s Youth Club, has said he believes easily more than 400 young people have left the town recently but wouldn’t be surprised if this number was double - as several sources indicate.

One man, from the Inishowen, who is currently living in Australia, contacted the Journal recently to say it was no surprise to him to count 76 people from the peninsula in one bar on the other side of the world on St. Patrick’s Day

Mr Hallinan said it’s a sign of the times and one we need to get used to.

He told the Journal: “We have got to be honest with ourselves and the fact is we’re in for a period of mass emigration and we have to act on it and prepare our young ones for home or abroad. We have to realise they will be going abroad because the work just isn’t here anymore.

“I have never ever seen parents happy to see their kids go, only seen them standing crying with their heads bowed.”

But, he said if these youngsters were going abroad where their parents knew they would be looked after and won’t come to wreck and ruin, then they would feel a lot happier about it.

He said the mass emigration Inishowen is currently facing is already having an impact on the area, and in years to come this will be realised even more so when people who have emigrated, are ready to start a family.

He added: “The impact is happening and this year is going to be another tough one for a whole lot of people and organisations.

“There is an awful lot of these young people that would come back if they could - but there is nothing here to come back to. It will probably get worse before it gets better and I don’t think we have bottomed out just yet.”

He wants to see programmes in place for those emigrating and is concerned many of them are leaving Ireland for no jobs or support in other countries.

He added: “The rural areas are going to suffer the most. There is a lot of negatives to come off all this, those that are here are going to have to double in their effort. We just can’t curl up in a ball in the corner and die wandering. We need to get a programme in place and we need to get proactive instead of reactive.”