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Category: Archive

Editorial Two Irelands

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Thousand of Irish emigrants who returned home for the holiday season will sip from pint glasses over the next few days as they wander down memory lane with relatives and friends. For many of the exiles, the prospects of staying in the Emerald Isle is a real possibility. No doubt it will cross their minds more than once as they flick through the daily papers and see the wealth of help-wanted ads.

For the last two years, understaffed companies have being handing out jobs leaflets and fliers to the tired and jet-lagged as they’ve struggle through airport exits into taxis and cars.

Information technology companies throughout the country are looking for qualified graduates. Construction companies cannot find enough skilled workers. And the tourist industry is seeking help in other E.U. countries and even from as far afield as Romania and Africa.

Exiles will be put under pressure to return, promises will be made to many to stay, while a lucky few will even be offered top-notch positions almost immediately.

Despite recent inflation warnings, most notably from the Central Bank, the government is confident the boom will continue and that the recent budget from Finance Minister "Champagne" Charlie McCreevy will further fuel the buoyant economy.

While the exiles consider their options over the next few days, one can’t help but take note of unsettling statistics from the Irish Simon Community. Despite Ireland’s new-found affluence, homelessness has increased in Dublin by 60 percent in the last three years. This figure includes a large number of women and those 25 and younger.

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The survey, conducted in October, revealed 202 people sleeping on the streets in the city center, up from 149 in June 1998 and 124 in December 1997. Of these, 30 percent were under 25 and 19 percent were female.

The Simons have run thrice-weekly soup kitchens in Dublin since 1969. Now the group provides emergency accommodation, residential housing, outreach, referral and settlement services.

Other groups have raised similar warnings of the serious plight of the growing underbelly of Ireland, Inc. But the pessimists have largely been overshadowed to date, their opinions discarded like a soft purr silenced by the roar of the Celtic Tiger.

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