Fianna Fáil Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson Niall Collins T.D has said he is deeply concerned about the continuing brain drain of highly qualified graduates from Irish 3rd level institutions

Deputy Collins was commenting after the publication, by the CSO, of figures that show that, in the 12 months to April 2017, 24,900 graduates chose to leave Ireland for employment overseas.

“In the midst of a supposed economic recovery, this is a 15% increase year on year.

“Can our country really afford to be losing 500 graduates every week, many of whom are medical and nursing graduates who are desperately needed in the Irish health service?

“It’s clear that while there are job opportunities in Ireland, graduates are prioritising quality of life and cost of living when deciding where to work after graduation.

“The cost of housing in particular is damaging Ireland’s ability to hold onto its graduates. We are already hearing about a severe lack of graduates in IT and in technology.

“Since Fine Gael entered Government in 2011, an estimated 148,700 third level graduates have departed Ireland representing 40% of the total number of emigrants from Ireland.

“These figures are totally unacceptable. The annual action plan for jobs is failing to retain skilled Irish talent with decent jobs domestically. With rising living costs across all metrics and acute housing shortages, the country has severe competitiveness and policy challenges to overcome this deficit.

“At a time when unemployment figures are decreasing, it is unacceptable that the number of highly qualified graduates leaving Ireland continues unabated.

“What are the Tánaiste’s plans to stem the flow of quality graduates from Ireland? I am worried that there is no real plan, and that the Government’s Action Plan on Jobs doesn’t have retention of graduates in Ireland as a priority.

“Our economy, our health system and our communities cannot afford to lose any more graduates. It’s time to arrest it to ensure that our country can continue to prosper and develop,” concluded Collins.