Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that as the economy recovers it is crucial that a strategy is put in place to enable returning emigrants smoothly reintegrate back into our society.

The Deputy raised the matter with the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dáil Éireann yesterday.

He said, “Sadly, over recent years hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens had to leave this country not out of choice but out of necessity.

“The Central Statistics Office estimates that between April 2016 and April 2017, 27,400 Irish emigrants returned to Ireland.

“The prospect of returning home should be a positive experience but there is no doubting that it can prove a challenge.

“Research published by ‘Crosscare’ less than 12 months ago indicates emigrants making a return to Ireland encounter significant barriers and challenges; Costly car insurance, finding employment, reintegration, the cost and availability of private rented accommodation and inability to acquire a mortgage.

“We have all read about or have personally encountered Irish emigrants wishing to return home but who are deterred by having to face the cost, administrative tasks and personal upheaval.

“I anticipate that the Department will move quickly to adopt the recommendations outlined in its ‘Economic Report on Addressing the Challenges Faced by Returning Irish Emigrants’ once published in the coming weeks.

“The 6 month, part time initiative ‘Back to Business’ launched last October and which is aimed at assisting returning emigrants to start or develop businesses has the potential to encourage many back home, but it is just one such measure.

It is apparent that there needs to a cross-departmental strategic response put in place to support those willing and eager to venture back to Ireland.

Deputy O’Brien concluded, “We owe it to them to make the transition home as smooth as possible.”