Sometimes, something comes along that gets me a little bit mad. And today, that thing was a post on the Facebook page Ireland Abandoners.
The gist of the post was that people who have left the country should not be allowed to fly the Irish flag, and that they were basically traitors, or, for want of a better word, cowards for giving up when times got tough.
Well, let the most opinionated woman you will ever meet (No, really. I have opinions on socks.) take you through the points raised in this post, and give you my two cents on them.
First off, I’m probably going to end up being what they called an ‘abandoner.’ I’ve known since I was 16 that I work in a career which means I’ll need to go where the jobs are, not in one that will have secure opportunities everywhere I go. If the job takes me to Australia, or New Zealand, or the moon, then I guess I’m gonna end up there. Does that mean I suddenly stop being Irish? Is there a rule that once I cross the departure gates in Dublin Airport I hand back my Irish passport for good?
Of course not. I go to college in Dublin, does that mean I’m not from Waterford anymore? My family are in Waterford, I go home to them when I can, and I would usually spend a day in Easons on O Connell Street cursing them for never having the Dungarvan Leader in. I also still support the team through the championships, not paying any heed to the fact that we’re not always in the finals. I’m not going to get rid of my Waterford jersey just because I changed address. It’s a part of who I am, and that shit was expensive.
People who have left the country don’t do it just because it’s the cool thing to do, or because everyone else has and they feel lonely. They go because they have no other choice. How could someone with a family to support and no regular income stay? Would you be able to stay in a place that had pretty much nothing for you? I know I wouldn’t.
I’m not going to be naive and say that leaving would be easy. Every time I plan my gap year (or, if you go to Trinity, Gap Yah), I don’t take into account the most important thing I’d be leaving behind. My family. I’m a homing pigeon, and I know for a fact that when the realisation that my family are no longer a two hour train ride away hits me, I will probably not be able to cope.
Another thing. People are not ‘too stupid’ to get another job, or train in another field. I could have studied as a nurse, or a lawyer. But I don’t want to be any of those things, I want to be a journalist. I’m not going to train as something that I do not want to be. I want to wake up in the morning and enjoy going to work, rather than dread the alarm clock.
I promise my next post will be about something a little happier, like kittens or puppies or rainbows. But for now, I’m just gonna be a bit angry.