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Just One of the ‘PIIGS’ or a European Outlier? Studying Irish Emigration from a Comparative Perspective


The return of high levels of emigration has become one of the most debated and sensitive social topics in Ireland in recent years. But Irish emigration continues to be discussed in the singular rather than the plural. This paper compares Irish emigration to other Eurozone states that also encountered serious economic difficulties following the onset of the global financial crisis to highlight international trends and specify national differences. All of the ‘PIIGS’ experienced increased emigration after the crisis. Yet Irish citizens left in much greater numbers per capita than their Eurozone counterparts, with only Portugal bearing any similarities. This was because Irish emigrants possessed valuable transnational human, cultural and social capital that enabled them to access liberal labour markets outside the Eurozone. They possessed skills desired by attractive destination states; they spoke the same language and shared similar cultural traits as their hosts; and they were able to call upon recently renewed Irish networks to further facilitate their move abroad.

Source: Irish Journal of Sociology, Vol. 23 No.2 pp 93-113.

Author: Irial Glynn
Publisher: SAGE Journals
Date of Publication: 02 November 2015
Reference Period: 01 January 2015 to 01 January 2020
URL/Identifier: http://irj.sagepub.com/content/23/2/93.abstract

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