The brain drain from Northern Ireland continues…

I wrote a few weeks about the increasing brain drain from our province. Typically in Northern Ireland we view emigration as a problem that mostly impacts the Irish Republic rather than us.

However, today thanks to a question by Phil Flanagan to the Finance Minister, we have found that emigration from Northern Ireland now is actually worse than it was during some of the worst years of the Troubles.

Now here I must put a note that emigration from Northern Ireland includes people who have gone to live in other parts of Britain but to me that still does not make the problem any less prevalent.

You can see the steady increase of people leaving Northern Ireland which is a real problem as people who leave this place typically do not come back. This is an issue worthy of more examination than is currently being given to it and while we at times like to kid ourselves that emigration is some other state’s problem it is happening on our own doorstep.

Here are the figures courtesy of Phil Flanagan


I always remember Eamon deValera’s pledge in the thirties when he said ‘no longer shall our children, like our cattle, be brought up for export.’ Seems like 70 years on our most valuable export is still the children of this island.






David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs