The plight of some elderly emigrants in Britain has been highlighted in some sections of the media . Senator Labhras Ó Murchú has raised the matter on a number of occasions in the Seanad.
“The contribution of the Irish to the development of Britain has been immense by any standards. Likewise, Irish emigrants gave financial support to their homeland at a time when Ireland sorely needed this help .
Many of our people were successful in their chosen careers and integrated well in the country of their adoption. Others were not so lucky, particularly many of those who worked in the construction industry, because of the unorthodox methods of remuneration which at times left them destitute in old age.
There is a moral obligation on the Irish government to seek out those of our compatriots who need our help now and to acknowledge and reward them generously for this past generosity to us at home in times of need. Principles take primacy over policies at a time like this. We must act urgently. It would forever be a blight on the national conscience if we do not, while we have the opportunity, deliver, not with pious St. Patrick's Day platitudes, but in a meaningful way, on our obligations to our own people who had to leave their own country in poorer times.
We could also extend a Céad Míle Fáilte to them (as we have to so many other people) to return home either on a holiday or with a view to living out their twilight years among their own people.”