By all means. Come back.
But it will probably mean you will emigrate again.
Wherever you are in the world, you might keep track of what’s happening back home, wondering if anything has improved at all since you left.
Nothing has. It’s actually gotten worse. But it’s election season here and promises are flying high again. We’re the “best country in the world to do business”, and all the jobs created in the last 5 years were thanks to Fine Gael’s prowess.
But more on that later. Enda Kenny has just come up with his newest contraption: he wants to lure 70,000 emigrants back by 2020.
I suggest you do not take him up on that.
Our insurance market has again collapsed. Insurance companies have lost €250m between 2010 and 2014, €200m on car insurance alone in 2013. So if you come back, you should expect prices 30 to 50 per cent higher at least.
And that no-claims bonus you accumulated abroad? Not valid here. Nothing.
You will be a young driver, even if you’re 42. Two to three thousand Euro a year depending on the car you’re driving. Welcome back.
You will need accommodation when you get back, right? Well there’s none left. Zero. If you come back now you might be in time to witness the second property bubble.
We also have a “Local” Property Tax, based on the market value of the house. Nothing local about it anymore, that was the part they used to lie to local authorities and taxpayers, it now goes into a giant pot to buy nice useless things, like Irish Water.
Average rents nationwide are €960:
But you might prefer Dublin, a real bargain compared to where you are right now.
We pay for water now. Well they want us to pay for it anyway, but it’s not working much. If you come back, you should budget €260 a year for water. If you get here by 2019/2020, triple that, as it will be privatised by then. But infrastructure is still third world, water contains lead or cryptosporidium, and 50% of it leaks. Not bad. And it still rains as much but we still do nothing with it, building regulations haven’t made water harvesting compulsory and you can’t do it either, because Irish Water will probably hike your bill.
I hear you. You want to move to the countryside, as rents are expensive, will not drive as you can’t afford the insurance, and plan on using public transport to commute to work. Ireland has probably improved its transport infrastructure by now, right? Absolutely not. Exchequer investment fell to its lowest level in 50 years in 2013.
Train, dart, luas and bus fares are rising, the M50 is gridlocked and the rest of the country is a giant pothole. For all the money that once went into repairs by local authorities was diverted to pay for Irish Water.
Electricity and gas are probably cheap where you are currently living, just like rent and public transport. You might be thinking that competition has done its work and prices have at last come down in Ireland?
Not at all. Just like the rest, it’s worse.
In 2010 average homes paid €990 a year. Now the same homes pay €1,211.
And Ireland remains one of the most expensive countries in Europe, with prices 25% higher than the EU average. Welcome back.
We’ve introduced postcodes so don’t be surprised to see new cryptic numbers at the bottom of your address if you come back. Not that it does anything but it makes us modern. They have designed a system that is a mirror image of their makers: it serves no purpose and leads nowhere.
It’s called “Eircode” and emergency services brand it as “worse than useless”.
It’s not that I don’t want you back, but that too has gotten worse. The worst it’s ever been actually. The Government has stripped funding to health services to its lowest levels in history (and welfare, housing, homelessness, local government, roads etc ) so it’s not really improving.
Patients on trolleys (Yes it’s an odd statistic to have ) numbers have also increased and reached their highest this year:
€2.7bn were cut from the service since 2009, and a loss of 12,000 HSE staff. Please don’t get sick if you come home.
Fine Gael and Labour have claimed time and again they helped create 50,000 jobs, then 100,000.
But most of it is naturally conjunctural. Not one politician would factor in the impact the emigration has had, or would say “many have returned”
but the truth is hundreds of thousands have left not to return, and it had an impact on jobless and employment figures.
Numbers are also inflated by “activation programs” as nearly 75,000 people were on Jobbridge and other measures. And the government also understated recession job losses by 50,000.
If you do find a job, chances are your wages will not even be on par with what you earned before you left, as wages have decreased. Ireland also has the second highest percentage of low paying jobs in the world.
If you are back, get a job but lose it, you at least have Social Welfare to fall on? Not so much anymore. Scissor-hands Burton has slashed so much out of it you can remove the Social from Social Welfare.
Electricity allowance has been cut by 25%, fuel allowance cut from 32 to 26 weeks, the telephone allowance was axed completely, the rent allowance was cut, one-parent family benefit cut from people with children over 7… Cuts, cuts, cuts.
I could keep going the list is endless. This made us top the list in the OECD. For most unequal society.
Ireland has now one of Europe’s highest poverty rates, with one third of children at risk. 800 families and 1500 children are homeless nationwide.
And around 30% of the population are in “enforced” deprivation, e.g. unable to afford at least two basics, such as replacing worn out furniture, an evening out, or heating — according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
That’s 1.3 million people.
Police forces are a rare sight these days. Unless Irish Water is installing meters in the area. Since you left, they became a mercenary army for hire, and are enforcing the installation of water meters for private contractors.
Many Garda stations were closed around the country, and funding has also ran out. So unless privately hired for a bar-mitzvah or a meter installation, they are nowhere to be found. Here are the statistics on burglaries:
If you are back, invest in a CCTV system, it could be handy. Welcome back.
So what is the government doing in all of this? As you have guessed, not much. It essentially takes orders from the Troika and legislates it at home.
It then lectures us on “the effects of the recovery” not many are able to see.
They are busy privatising everything they can, by suffocating existing services such as health, policing, housing, welfare, pension and making them redundant.
It’s a free for all right now, pension funds, banks, conglomerates feasting on Ireland’s carcass.
If you come back, get a job as a 1%. Or in any of the hundreds of quangos the government has built for itself with friends. You can try NAMA. Or NewERA. Or IBRC. Banking is good too. Come back if you’re a banker.
But if you’re just a normal joe, please stay away. It’s not worth it.