As Ireland's Boom ends, Job-Seekers Revive a Well-Worn Path to America
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The New York Times:
He came to the United States in 1996 to paint houses and work in construction. Like many of his fellow Irishmen, he returned home soon after to ride the Celtic Tiger, the economic boom that turned his once-struggling country into one of Europe’s great success stories and allowed him to start a construction company.
But now Niall, 34, is nursing a midday beer in an Irish pub in the Bronx, out of work and hoping to find any job at all.
“I’ll do anything,” he says, “from shoeing a horse to capping a chimney.”
The Irish, it appears, are coming to America again. Niall, who asked that his last name not be published because he intended to work illegally, is part of a fresh surge of immigrants who in recent months have fled Ireland as it suffered a sudden economic reversal. They have traveled here in search of employment, like generations of Irish before them and, in some cases, like their own younger selves.
Many have been making their way to the Bronx and Queens neighborhoods that became popular with the Irish who arrived in the last big wave of immigration, in the 1980s and ’90s, before Ireland’s prosperity slowed the influx and drew many home.
“I couldn’t sit around any longer doing nothing,” said Niall, just nine days off the plane from Dublin. In spite of rising unemployment in the United States, he and other newcomers say the job market here seems rosy compared with the meager offerings in Ireland, where the jobless rate has soared to nearly 12 percent. “It still seems that if you push yourself enough,” he said, “then you will find something.”
It is impossible to know the size of the latest Irish migration because many of the immigrants, like Niall, are arriving on tourist visas and planning to stay and work illegally.
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