Sinn Féin TD for Donegal South West, Pearse Doherty is to visit Australia in early September.
Deputy Doherty will visit Perth, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, speaking at public meetings and engaging with local politicians, trade unionists and Irish organisations, but above all with Irish young people who have recently arrived in Australia to look for work.
Speaking in advance of the trip, Deputy Doherty said: “Donegal has a long tradition of emigration – I myself was born in Glasgow as a result of emigration. In those days, Irish people were in a relatively better position in that London and Glasgow offered employment opportunities closer to home, now our young people have to travel even further afield to Canada and Australia to get work.
“The current Government, in an attempt to rid itself of responsibility, considers the emigration of thousands of our young people as a lifestyle choice.
“This is a ridiculous notion and shows the ignorance of our Government to the heartbreak of parents and grandparents forced to try to maintain family links with their loved ones through long-distance phone calls and skype.”
“It is well documented that youth unemployment in Donegal is the second highest rate in the Country with a staggering 49% of those under 25 currently unemployed and thousands forced to emigrate as a result of the failed economic policies of previous and current governments. I expect to meet and engage with many of these young people over the course of my trip.”
His trip will also involve a campaign on the education and organisation of Irish workers in Australia against exploitation and to encourage trade union membership among Irish emigrants there.
“There is evidence that some Irish workers are being exploited in the workplace in Australia as they are dependent on their employer for their visa to be maintained or extended.
“Sinn Féin supports the campaign of Australian Trade Unionists to
defend the rights of Irish workers in Australia and I hope to meet
with some of the union representatives campaigning on this issue
during my trip,” said Deputy Doherty.
Deputy Doherty will also launch the Uniting Ireland campaign in
Australia and campaign for voting rights for our disapora.
Pearse Doherty TD will be in Australia between 6 and 11 September
2012. He will be accompanied by Noeleen McPolin, of Sinn Féin’s
international department, with responsibility for Australia.