The draining effects of emigration on the holiday town of Kilkee in County Clare.

The seaside town of Kilkee in County Clare has been badly hit by emigration. The lack of jobs available to those living along the western coastline is responsible for the emigration of five of the seven children in the Fitzpatrick family.      

Gerry Fitzpatrick realises his children left because neither Kilkee nor the wider locality offered any real opportunity to for them to work or to receive training. Gerry and his wife would love to see their children back in County Clare with jobs.

I feel very sad and very disappointed at you know, the progress or lack, of it in the county.

One Kilkee resident completed his Leaving Certificate in 1987 and says approximately half of his class have emigrated.

The main reason people are leaving Kilkee is because there is not work, there are no jobs here.

He says people leave Kilkee out of boredom. While he has work for the summer he is making plans to go to Australia and make a life there for himself if he has no other work by October. 

St Senan's Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club in Kilkee is also feeling the effects of emigration. It has lost a lot of players to emigration over the years. Club secretary John Lynch says two of the present under 21 team have emigrated and they have to be brought back every second week for the under 21 championship.

He is sad people have to emigrate, 

A lot of people would like to go anyway but I think the majority of the people would like to stay in Ireland and in Kilkee if possible.

Sculptor Jim Connolly believes the educational system and materialistic way of life in Ireland encourages young people to strive for the unattainable.

We train them for jobs that aren’t there, we hype them up, they leave school, they’re hyped up for the big job.

These jobs do not exist so young people have to emigrate. He would like to see a more balanced system of education in Ireland where all work is valued.

Jim Connolly wants to encourage people from urban areas to resettle in the western counties, especially by the sea where the population is declining.

This episode of 'Scratch Saturday’ was broadcast on 20 April 1990. The reporter is Brian Reddin.