Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty, has told Irish communities in Australia that the party is committed to ensuring Ireland is a place of thriving opportunity for emigrants who choose to return home.
He was speaking at an event in Sydney yesterday evening (Wednesday), launching the new community group ‘Australian Friends of Irish Unity’.
Pearse Doherty said:
“The Irish community in Australia is strong and vibrant, brimming with the energy and optimism of the ‘can do’ attitude that defines our people.
“We are proud of the contribution that the Irish have made to the society of Sydney in sports, business, culture, community building and public life.
“But we know that while many leave for adventure, experience and fun, far too many of our young people are here today because you were left with no other choice but to go. You’ve been denied opportunity and your shot at a good life In Ireland.
“That is heart-breaking, and when Mary Lou said that Sinn Féin is working night and day to change things for you, so you can come home to a new Ireland, she meant it. And I mean it too.
“As somebody whose ambition it is to be Finance Minister in a Government of Change, this is especially close to my heart.
“I was born in Scotland. I am the son of Irish emigrants. My earliest memory is of the removal van parked outside our house in Donegal on our return to Ireland.
“My mother and father had left West Donegal in the early 1960s because there wasn’t any work. Frightening deprivation. No prospect of raising a family. Little chance of building a future. Of course, they weren’t alone.
“Their story is shared by thousands of others who, in search of work, had to leave the only home they ever knew.
“The Ireland of 2023 is a very different place. And yet, despite all this progress, another generation again looks to the airports and to the hope of a better life here in Australia, in the US, Britain, and Canada.
“Not because there’s no work – but because despite having jobs, despite having a good education, skills and qualifications, they are prevented from building a good future at home. We have an entire generation locked out of opportunity and prosperity. An entire generation locked out of home ownership.
“The problem is that we have a government that is jaded and out of ideas, so locked into the past that they are standing-by, refusing to seize these opportunities.
“It’s clear that to realise the immense opportunities for Ireland, we need a new political leadership with energy and ambition.
And we in Sinn Féin are ready to lead governments for real change, north and south.
“To those who have been forced to leave, I want you to know that we in Sinn Féin see you. We hear you. We are working hard for you. Working hard to make Ireland the home that you deserve, and we will create a genuine route back home for anybody who has left and wishes to return.”