Sligo Leitrim Junior Minister John Perry caused some controversy last week in the Dail after he claimed many Irish were “emigrating by choice.”
The local TD said he knew people who were “delighted” to be emigrating to the US and Canada for work.
Minister Perry was answering questions from the opposition and claims from Sinn Féin that nine people are emigrating from the State every hour in the Dail last week and he said, “There are people emigrating by choice. I know several young people who will be quite delighted to go to the United States if they can get in, or to Canada if they have the required qualifications.”
Perry said the Government was doing its best to sort out the economy but “one cannot just wave a magic wand.”
His comments were described as offensive by opposition TDs.
Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín criticised Perry saying “It is astonishing that a minister in the Department of Jobs is that detached from reality to claim that those emigrating do so from personal choice.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Youth Affairs Senator Kathryn Reilly from Cavan has called on Minister of State John Perry to apologise to those young people and their families who have been forced to emigrate to find work.
The Minister for Small Business says attracting larger companies into the border region remains a difficult task.
The government and the IDA have come in for continued criticism for not encouraging larger multinationals to set up shop in the likes of Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan.
John Perry says while Minister Bruton is conscious of the investment needs for the region, and the growing unemployment rates, attracting businesses into the region is still challenging.