The effect of emigration in the west of Ireland. A report looking at the parish of Killasser in county Mayo and the dwindling population as young people leave the area.

The effect of emigration in the west of Ireland. A report looking at the parish of Killasser in county Mayo and dwindling population as young people leave the area.

As a car travels along an empty rural road and the camera shows shots a deserted thatched cottage and headstones in a rural graveyard. Reporter Cathal O'Shannon talks about the danger of Killasser dying as a community due to the high rate of emigration.

Cathal O'Shannon shows report published by the Social Sciences Research Unit of University College Galway (UCG).The research for the report was gathered in Killasser by the 'Defend the West' organisation.

Dr Labhras O Nuallain author of the report and a lecturer at UCG says that the findings of the report maybe startling to some people but not to people in the west of Ireland.

Cathal O'Shannon talking camera says much of what is in the report is not news it is history. Killasser is not the only parish in Ireland to stand condemned by a poor economoy and a big emigration rate. Details are still shocking because it is happening now and seemingly beyond control.

Father John Leonard, chairman of the 'Defend the West' organisation says he is sixteen years in town and has seen the dwindling population.

Sean McEvoy, headmaster and secretary of 'Defend the West', believes the picture for Killasser is slightly worse than the report describes.

Father John Leonard, teachers priests and politicians will lose out as the population of the area declines.

A young baby is being fed by a bottle. Cathal O'Shannon says according to the report the chances are by the time this child reaches manhood he will be living and earning in England or America.

Young boys are kicking a can along a country road. A farmer ploughs a field with two horses. Cathal O'Shannon says that on the other hand if a male child stays in Killasser he will leave school at primary level and work the small farm owned by his father.

Few farmers in Killasser have tractors. A farmer leads a donkey pulling a dray loaded with manure. A farmer and a young boy spread manure with a fork. Cathal O'Shannon points out that a farmer here will earn less than five pounds a week.

Sean McEvoy says they have tried to organise farmers into making best use of the land.

Dr Labhras O Nuallain, much could be done to improve living conditions of those people who remain in Killasser. Young people will have to go and find work elsewhere. Training is needed for those who will not be able to work on the land.

A group of farmers talk about the report. One farmer says the report needs to see immediate results or else the 'Defence of the West' campaign will just fade out. Another farmer hopes to prove to those not in favour of report's recommendations that they have merit. 

Cathal O'Shannon says the majority of farmers in the area are aged fifty or over and that the report says older farmers are less likely to take risks or avail of government grants.

A farmer says most people are afraid of getting into debt in case they cannot pay it back. Another farmer says things are so bad now that they would be afraid they could not pay the money back when the time would come.

Father John Leonard, on why local farmers do not avail of grants, they are away in England working for much of the year and do not have the money they would need to support the grant

Cathal O'Shannon, "Killasser is out of step with modern living it does not matter that you or I think differently. There is no point in looking with envy on what might to us be a simpler life and therefore trying to preserve it. The young people of Killasser have made up their minds. The mere fact that they are abandoning Killasser in search of a better financial status is in itself an assertion