By Elizabeth Doherty
DUBLIN Airport is an interesting place to be at Christmas – a symbol of how Irish life has changed in recent years.
Walking through arrivals today on a flight home for the season from the UK, I arrived in the capital’s airport, along with thousands of others.
I listened to the usual lads from Tipperary and Kerry, the young women from Cork and Dublin, coming home for Christmas.
They were all looking forward to the usual things, familiar to us as a nation celebrating the season – pints, chats, and of course, seeing friends and family.
But the one thing I noticed more this year than others before, as I came in to arrivals, was the sheer number of foreign accents coming in to Ireland for Christmas – and many young children told a tale of our economic crisis.
‘Mummy, mummy, when will we be at grandma’s?’ one beautiful, little, blonde-haired girl cried.
Her mother had a distinct Cork accent, yet this child, no more than four, was very, very London.
Another family, more economic migrants, were all American – I would hazard a guess, from Boston, yet the father, in his 30s, was from Dublin.
His young son, aged around 5, shouted: “Daddy, daddy, will we see the mountains in Ireland?” and then to the amusement of travellers, he declared: “Ryanair are the best airline in the world.”
The family had seemed to have spent time in the UK before going to Dublin and such was the child’s trans-Atlantic adventure, he even adored O’Leary’s budget travel.
Children with English accents to Irish mothers and fathers, seemed to be the most common sound, among the new Irish.
But there were also French, German and Australian children, all calling to Irish parents.
I couldn’t help but thinking that these are as Irish as the children born here in this country – because they are also the children of the crash – they were mostly born in different countries because their parents were forced economically to move.
But by far the most heartening sight yesterday as I was greeted by my own family at the airport, was seeing some of these children being hugged tightly by their Irish grandparents.
It is very sad that people were forced to move away in their thousands from Ireland due to the failures of government, the banking system and the control of the elite – but we have also gained new families, born across the world, once again.
We are one of the biggest nationalities across the world and it seems if mistakes continue to be made by those in power, this will only continue, which in many ways is a tragedy as families here are separated.
But I think it would be very difficult not to have hope for these families reunited as they lit up in embraces at the airport yesterday.
I wish them all peace and the best Christmas. I hope those children keep coming back to see granny and granddad as often as they can.