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Irish emigration picks up pace amid dim job prospects
DUBLIN, Sept 27 |
DUBLIN, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Emigration from Ireland increased by 8 percent in the year to April, with almost 250 mostly young people a day leaving a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe.
Ireland's long and painful history of emigration, from the million or so who left during the Great Famine of the 1800s to those who escaped recession in the 1980s, has added a fresh chapter since the financial crisis that triggered an EU/IMF bailout almost two years ago.
The number of departures in the 12 months to April rose to 87,100 from 80,600 a year earlier, the Central Statistics Office said on its website on Thursday, meaning almost two percent of the population left the country. The emigration rate was almost four times higher than during the "Celtic Tiger" boom years of the 2000s.
More than 90 percent of emigrants were aged 44 and under, and Irish nationals accounted for more than 50 percent of those leaving for the first time since the crisis began.
The pace of emigration was offset somewhat by the arrival of 52,700 new residents, just over a third of them Irish. This was roughly the same number as a year ago, but far from the record 150,000 who entered the country in 2007 when the unemployment rate was just 4 percent.
The ratio of immigrants to emigrants was nonetheless higher than in the late 1980s, when three times as many people left the country as came in.
Ireland's unemployment rate, currently at a crisis-high of 14.8 percent, is only expected to fall to 13.1 percent by 2015 according to newly revised forecasts by the European Commission.
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