23rd March, 2013
Dear Ms. Bowles,
As a mother, I am writing this letter to you to let you know the affect emigration has had on me and on thousands of mothers like me.
In 2012, 75,000 people left the country and my eldest daughter was one of them. Katie left in September 2012 with a third-level qualification. Her leaving was devastating and left a huge void not only in our lives but in the lives of her siblings, her grandparents and her friends. As we drove to the airport she became very upset at the prospect of maybe not seeing her elderly grandparents again.
I live in a small fishing village on the south-west coast of Ireland. I cannot describe to you the affects emigration is having. A whole generation have gone, the life and soul of our community, and our community is just one. Thousands have emigrated from every village, town and city in Ireland. Our niece has already gone to England, our nephew too gone to Australia since June. Máiréid my second-eldest daughter who graduated last October, is emigrating to Australia in July. Although excited at the prospect of seeing her sister, she is already lonesome and dreading leaving her two younger brothers.
Emigration has always been a significant part of Ireland’s history but what makes this exodus different is that our country is bankrupt and will be for generations to come, leaving those who have left and those who have been left behind with no hope. When all hope is gone all you are left with is despair.
I will finish my letter to you by just telling you of my last thoughts as I lay in bed at night. Before I close my eyes Katie is in my thoughts but so too is Máiréid and her imminent departure. I think of our two sons and a wave of sadness envelopes me. I know someday chances are their Dad and I will be left sitting in our family home, a home that was full of life and happiness, staring into a computer while we Skype the most important people in our lives, our children.