Young people in Wexford will emigrate if they do not have a job or a place in education a year after leaving school.

Through an emigration awareness week, Wexford young people planning to emigrate for work are being helped to fully inform themselves about life abroad, before they leave Ireland. When surveyed, 70% of young people in Wexford indicated they would emigrate if they did not find work or a course within one year of leaving school.

Most of these young people will head to London, however a large number of them hold false expectations about gaining employment in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. Many of the emigrants are unskilled or require short term jobs, making them an unattractive prospect for employers abroad.

According to Monika McCleane who works as a social worker and counsellor dealing with child protection for children and young people in Camden Social Services, this means a number of emigrants find themselves open to all sorts of problems in London.

Monika sees 30 people a week from Wexford Town alone, many of whom are naive, trusting of strangers and grossly unprepared for life in a vast city like London. Some of them turn to drugs, drink or prostitution, the younger ones could be taken into care if under 16 years of age.

Father Aiden McKeown from the Irish Advice Centre in Hammersmith in London has also seen unemployed people from Ireland being duped into prostitution. Escaping from this lifestyle is difficult,

When one get’s in on that game, it’s very, very hard to get out.

In a bid to combat these problems, the Wexford Centre For The Unemployed is holding an Emigration Awareness Week. Young people planning to leave Ireland will be able to obtain the right information and have arrangements in place before they emigrate.

They say we need an advice centre in every county in the country to give information on emigration and each county should have an office in London to pick up the pieces if necessary.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 March 1988. The reporter is Michael Ryan.