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Fr MacGreil calls for, "emigration tax''

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

One of Ireland's leading sociologists, who is also a Jesuit priest, has said that countries that benefit from Irish emigration should pay tax to Ireland.

Speaking recently Fr Michael MacGreil SJ, a former professor of sociology at NUI Maynooth said weaker countries like Ireland would, “never develop” while there is a, “push-pull” factor attracting young people to stronger economies. 

According to Fr MacGrei,l “When it costs the Irish state an average of €85,000 to educate people up to third level standard , it is time host countries  paid a tax in return for the obvious benefits that they are accruing from such graduates.”

Speaking at the St Patrick's Day pilgrimage in Connemara in County Galway, Fr MacGreil added, “The push crisis is at home, the pull is the opportunity abroad.” 

Fr MacGreil pointed to the recent survey conducted by the IPSOS MRBI for the Irish Times, which found that 59% of emigrants left by choice while 41% felt forced to leave.

The survey, which was conducted among a sample of people who had left the country since 2008, also showed that 72% of those who leave the country intend coming back to Ireland to live and work at some stage in the future. 
The survey also showed that 25% of those who left had a third level certificate or diploma, 42% had a primary degree, 16% had a master’s degree and 2% had a PhD. 

According to Fr MacGreil, it is figures such as these that show the lost revenue to Ireland and the gains for immigrant countries because of emigration.

by Sean Ryan