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With unemployment at 14 percent, the Irish look for work abroad

Christopher Werth Mar 19, 2012

With unemployment at 14 percent, the Irish look for work abroad

Christopher Werth Mar 19, 2012

Stacey Vanek-Smith: More than a year after Ireland received a bailout, unemployment in the country has risen to well over 14 percent. Nearly 1,500 people leave the Emerald Isle every week to look for work.

Reporter Christopher Werth tells the story of one emigrant.


Peter Sweeney: My name is Peter Sweeney. I’m 23 years of age, and I am a carpenter. But there’s not much work in the construction industry in Ireland. So I decided to get myself over to Australia.

The money for carpenters is really, really good over there. They could get up to $35 dollars an hour – plenty of work, and most of my friends have gone already.

(Sound of dog barking)

The dog smells really bad.

Edel Sweeney: My name is Edel, and I’m Peter’s mom. There’s no future for him I know, but Australia is so far away. And I’m annoyed about it. I’m annoyed at the banks, what they’ve done. And my son did say to me that he’s not going to stay here and pay the banks back.

Peter Sweeney: Tonight is my going away party. We’re going to have a few beers in a pub with some of my friends.

I feel angry about having to leave. I mean I always thought that I’d travel. But I never thought I would have to leave forcefully like, you know, to work.

Sam Hyland: My name is Sam. I’m a friend of Peter’s. It’s horrible to see some of your good mates go, you know. I’ve seen a lot of mates go. It kind of makes me want to go away myself.

Peter Sweeney: I feel a little bit sad because I’ve so many good friends that I won’t be able to, you know, stay in contact with. But I really want to make it over there. You know I want to be a workingman. And so I think I’ll be okay.

Pub Crowd: We’re going to miss you Sweeney! We’re going to miss you! What a man! What a man!

Vanek Smith: Christopher Werth produced that report.

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