It was the balm. Coming home every summer and seeing how others were suffering and suffering, I could console myself that emigration five years ago was indeed the right answer, it soothed all homesickness and sentimentality towards leaving Ireland.
There were many options open to economic sufferers back in 2009; Declare oneself bankrupt, close your business doors and get a job in Boston (Scientific). Downsize, move back into your initial starter home and offer the keys to ‘The Manor’ back to the bank and apologise for the confusion saying that perhaps you’d be more comfortable with a mortgage of 160,000 and not the undersigned 1,600,000. Brass neck it, stay in ‘The Manor’ and offer your lender a percentage of your weekly 207.33 Job seekers allowance, you won’t afford the underground heating or be able to maintain the sauna and steam room you installed but hey, you’ll still be sitting on your Selva sofa at night, albeit broke. Of the course the final straw, the one I reluctantly opted for was emigration. Said no to Bankruptcy, downsizing and the live register and started afresh in pastures (sand dunes in this case) new with the intention of coming back and slipping right into step where you left off in good ole 2008.
Part of the initial plan was to come back round about now and reintegrate into a stabilised Irish society not into the heli pad crew of the good years or the dole queues that were there when we left in the depths of recession. Come back to an Ireland that was maintaining an acceptable level of steady growth in its economy and to a market that was capable of sustaining companies in a period outside of, ‘enthusiastic establishment’, ‘unprecedented profits’, before finally, ‘folding fiercely’, in a forced liquidation process.
The first few years I was away, things were steady, steadily going downhill, 2011, 2012 and 2013 bearing the brunt of the 2009 collapse. Each year I’d return and console myself by thinking that whilst we were missing out on all the benefits of raising children and living at home in Ireland close to friends and relations, we were also missing all the negative aspects of the effects of drastic economic downturn. It was the compensation that whilst moving four different times within five years was not ideal, there was no viable lifestyle available at home and that ultimately the move from Ireland sacrificing friends and family would result in rewards and we would return triumphant, round about now.
My grand-plan seemed possible when last year, 2014, things seemed to have bottomed out in the country. House prices for the first time in my adult life seemed considered, even achievable in some cases. Groupon and Living Social had taken the availability of useless gadgets to a whole new level, where we would never again long for a LED lit 3 metre long phone charger cable without being able to afford it and in the general the cost of living was coming down, and everyone had a keen eye on price verses value.
But 2015, my plan seems to be slipping through my fingers faster than you can say, ‘I deserve an X6 and I’m getting one’. The considered house prices of 2014 have ricocheted against the floor of common sense and this year the prices, for the same or similar houses that sold back in 2014, have now risen, without regulation or reflection. What was 180k in 2014 is now 240k in 2015 – how can that be?
Try to book a family room including breakfast in a hotel in Ireland this week and you’ll see how the cost of living is going and note the number of people who have this year given up the staycation for a vacation back in Portugal.
Small mercies, the price of the LED phone cable remains the same.
Are we on the up again in Ireland? Are all those that claimed bankruptcy in 2010, now coming back out after their five year sabbatical and willing to get back in the game? Are we incapable in Ireland of retaining an economic plateau for two years running? Will 2016 see the helicopters being dusted off and will we be soon, flying high once again?