Offaly TD Carol Nolan has supported a call for improved resources to assist emigrants upon their return to Ireland.
Speaking on the issue which was under discussion at the Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection Deputy Nolan acknowledged the work of NGO’s such as Crosscare, and the data they were collating in the course of their advocacy with regard to returning emigrants.
Deputy Nolan also spoke of "the abject failure of successive Governments to remove the major encumbrances hindering the return of Irish emigrants," which Deputy Nolan has raised on previous occasions in the Dáil.
In the past the Deputy has highlighted various issues such as barriers to opening a bank account; non-recognition of overseas driving licenses; loss of previously accrued ‘no-claims bonus’ for motor insurance; non-recognition of financial credit history earned in other jurisdictions and loss of entitlement to Irish State benefits on return. The habitual residence clause has been identified as one of the most difficult to navigate.
On Thursday the Offaly North Tipperary TD spoke on the issue of barriers to third level education and cited the case of a returning emigrant who had to take out a loan to pay for Fees.
This proved unsustainable and the constituent was forced to drop out of college.
“Our emigrants are a legacy of State failure which compelled them to leave in the first instance; and now they are being failed upon their return," Carol said.
"Whilst there has been much emphasis on the Undocumented Irish in the United States, and rightly so, the fact of the matter is, that an undocumented Irish emigrant can open a Bank Account in the US but cannot open one upon their return to Ireland," Carol added.
"I am of the opinion that specially trained personnel should also be added to Citizen Information Centres and MABS, to provide frontline community based accessible information services for returning emigrants or family members who advocate for them. "
"Given that emigration has adversely affected rural Ireland to the greatest extent, it follows that obstacles to repatriation also have a greater impact on rural recovery. As a rural TD I will continue to lobby various Ministers on this issue," she concluded.