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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 20 May 1969

Vol. 240 No. 9

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Emigration and Employment.


asked the Taoiseach the total number of people who have emigrated since the 1st April, 1957, to the latest available date; and what plans the Government have to provide employment for Irish people at home.

Reliable figures for net emigration are available only for intercensal periods. Between the censuses of population in April, 1956 and April, 1966, the total net emigration was 292,608. It is estimated that net emigration in the period April, 1956, to April, 1957, amounted to 42,000.

For periods since the last census of population, the only indicators available of net emigration are the figures for the net outward passenger movement by sea and air. It should be pointed out, however, that in respect of the last period for which net passenger balance figures could be compared with the actual net emigration, namely the period between the 1961 and the 1966 censuses, it was found that the net passenger balance figures overstated the true net emigration figures by about 45 per cent. If it is assumed that the net passenger balance continues to overstate net emigration by this amount, an estimate of 301,000 is arrived at for the net emigration in the period April, 1957, to April, 1969.

The Government's plans, as set out in the Third Programme for Economic and Social Development have, as their major aim, an increase in employment and output in order to maintain and improve the favourable trend of recent years in overall population and emigration statistics. In forthcoming debates on Estimates for the various Departments, Ministers will detail the Government's plans.

Is the Taoiseach aware that in 1957 the then Taoiseach said that this Government should be judged on their work to stop emigration and give employment to our people? In view of the fact that the figures now disclose that since 1957 over 350,000 people have been driven from this country by the Government and, in view of the fact that an answer you gave me last week showed that there are now 61,000 fewer people at work today compared with 1957, will you now admit——

The Taoiseach.

——will the Taoiseach now admit that his Government have failed the Irish people?

I am prepared to accept that criterion by which we should be judged. Our population is increasing. Our work force is increasing, and increasing beyond the decline in agricultural employment. I am quite happy to accept that challenge if that is what the Deputy wants.

Is the Taoiseach aware that in Drogheda prior to the General Election in 1965 he promised 85,000 new jobs between then and 1969? Will you now admit that on your own figures given to me last week——

The Taoiseach.

Will the Taoiseach admit that there are 61,000 fewer people at work in Ireland today than there were in 1957 and will he admit that these are the criteria by which any Government should be judged?

Is the Taoiseach aware that 100,000 people were idle and another 300,000 left the country when the Deputy's Party were in office in 1956 and 1957?


It was 145,000 one time under Fianna Fáil.