Irish diaspora heats up as 40,000 head for Australia

Irish diaspora heats up as 40,000 head for Australia

Irish diaspora heats up as 40,000 head for Australia

A huge wave of migration from Ireland is reminding the country of its tens of thousands who headed for Australia during the great famine in the mid 19th century.

According to Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship, over 40,000 Irish citizens opted for Australia between 22011 and 2012, with around 5,000 deciding to settle permanently in their new land. Jimmy Deenihan, the Irish heritage minister, attributes the increase to Australia’s user-friendly immigration rules and regulations.

Young people in particular, he says, find the visa system straightforward, and are as happy to leave Ireland’s present ‘troubles’ as their ancestors were during the great famine. Young graduates, skilled workers and highly qualified professionals, he adds, are made very welcome for their contribution to Australia’s economy, and Ireland is left mourning its lost human resources.

Irish people are comfortable with Australia as a immigration destination as they’re aware there a welcome for them and their skills. However, says Deenihan, Ireland hopes, some time in the future, to lure its sons and daughters back home.

Author Tom Keneally explains that Irish immigration during the 19th century impacted hugely on Australia, accounting nowadays for hundreds of thousands of the population. The famine, he adds, cast a vast shadow over the long years, as the migrants brought a sense of social justice, an understanding of politics and typical Irish exuberance to the then wild land, thus shaping the country’s cultural and political life.

Related Stories:

Latest News: