Thursday, August 21, 2008

GAA players NY-bound despite lack of visas

Interesting piece by David McWilliams in the Irish Independent yesterday. McWilliams has devised what he calls a GAA club transfer index which shows the following:

In January, not one club player transferred to a club outside Ireland. This month, over one third of all transfers involved lads leaving the country and signing up for clubs in New York and London.
McWilliams reckons that this is the thin end of the wedge as young Irish men get back on the emigration trail. Well, all he needed to do was call the Aisling Center in New York to find that out. However, at the very least, McWilliams has started some realistic debate. There is an urgent need for a long-term and short-term solution for Irish immigrants in the US. And he has also shown Ireland needs an "ordinary" visa; one that will give the carpenter, nanny and office worker the same kind of opportunities as the guy with the PhD.

1 comment:

Immigration Reform Now! said...

Letters to the Irish Independent re McWilliams Article

Emigration has not gone away

David McWilliams's article on Irish emigration (Irish Independent, August 20) is deeply misleading and incorrect. Mr McWilliams uses the numbers of GAA players transferring from Irish clubs to clubs in England and New York to justify his claims of a "huge surge in emigration".

This number has totalled some 34 players in August 2008. Mr McWilliams might like to note the following comparative statistics for the months of August for the two previous years when our economy was growing:

l2007 August transfers: To New York: 14 . To England: 28. Total: 42

l2006 August transfers: To New York: 8. To England: 26. Total: 34

He also states that emigration is returning. The fact is that it never actually left, and even in the boom years, up to 20,000 people annually still decided to emigrate despite the strong economy.

Some of these people were not touched by the Celtic Tiger, which had huge social policy deficits that continue.

Visa problems must be tackled

David McWilliams is right on the money with his GAA Club Transfer Index.

The immigration centres in New York have been reporting a steady stream of new arrivals since the middle of last year, and yes, most of these new arrivals are young men.

Unfortunately, as Mr McWilliams fails to point out, the new arrivals are taking their chances in a country where they will become undocumented.

They have no choice but to become undocumented -- visas for the ordinary Irish are as rare as hens' teeth.

There is an urgent need for a long- and short-term solution for Irish immigrants in the US.

And the solution has to recognise that Ireland needs an "ordinary" visa; one that will give the carpenter, nanny and office worker the same kind of opportunities as those with a PhD.