Four-fifths of Irish children born between 1931 and 1941 had to emigrate. In any classroom of 40 pupils, only eight could expect to live as adults in Ireland. The others left to the unspoken relief of government ministers who saw emigration as a safety valve on social unrest, allowing them not to tackle fundamental problems. Ministers for Finance could factor emigrants’ remittances as an invisible export into their budgets. Ten-shilling notes sent home from English...
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