New figures from the Gardai in Thomastown have confirmed what locals had already suspected - that the town is being hit by a crippling wave of emigration.
Since January 1 this year the Superintendent’s office in the Thomastown Garda district have been keeping figures on how many ‘Police Certificates’ or statements of good character they stamp. The form is required by people travelling to any country where a work visa is required.
The Thomastown Garda division had stamped 50 Police Certificates as of Wednesday (January, 25) last week. The majority of the forms are being used by young people as part of their visa applications. Australia or Canada are the destinations of choice for the youth of Thomastown. The figures mean that almost two young people a day are emigrating from a town with a population of about 2,000 people.
The figures come as little surprise to Shem O’Hara, a local publican, who has kept track of local emigration from Thomastown through the number of leaving parties hosted in his pub.
Last Saturday O’Hara’s pub on the bottom of Logan street was the venue for a leaving party for seven young people from Thomastown.
All have since emigrated to Australia.
Mr O’Hara said that the people who are leaving now are younger than those who were going last year or even two years ago.
“They seem to be going out younger now,” he said “and sure who can blame them, there is nothing here for them,” he added.
Out of the group of seven who held their leaving party, Mr O’Hara said that they were aged between 18 and 21. He said that a lot of their friends have already gone out and through facebook and skype they were encouraging their friends to come out and join them.
The loss of young people is having an effect on business in the town as well.
Mr O’Hara said “They would all have been customers, you get the going away party but very few of them come back”.