Canada attractive to Irish workers: ambassador

Daniel MacEachern
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Loyola Hearn

Ireland could provide some relief for Canada’s labour shortage, says the Newfoundland-born ambassador to the Emerald Isle.

Loyola Hearn, former MHA,

MP and current Canadian ambassador to Ireland, told the St. John’s Board of Trade about the Canada-Ireland connections, including $1.6 billion in trade and the fact that Ireland receives the sixth-most amount of Canadian foreign in-vestment.

And one of the country’s most valuable exports — currently in a recession that started in 2008, with an unemployment rate of 14 per cent — are workers.

“We have a lot of people asking about Canada, and the potential, everywhere I go, and I travel extensively in Ireland,” he said.

“There’s no place I go now where I don’t have people coming up who either have been to Canada or are going to Canada, want to go to Canada.”

Hearn said older Irish people have expressed concerns that the country is losing its young.

That’s something Newfoundlanders can relate to in the wake of a vanished labour force that headed west for employment after the cod moratorium.

“They are to an extent, but I always say you never lose young people by letting them go, and spread their wings and get experience,” Hearn said. “You lose young people by (them) hanging around with nothing to do.”

Hearn pointed out Ireland is geographically closer than Alberta.

Strong connections

“The connections here are becoming very, very strong, and we do have a lot of young Irish coming to Canada,” he said. “Canada now has become by far the destination of choice. If you went over and did a poll: ‘If you’re looking for work, where do you want to go?’ I would suggest six to eight out of 10 would say Canada.”

Hearn said Canada is more attractive than the United States, and Newfoundland and Labrador in particular needs to follow the lead of other Canadian provinces actively looking to attract an Irish workforce.

“We haven’t seen the push yet from Newfoundland looking for the workers that we’re seeing from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia in particular Saskatchewan, I think, leading the pack. They’ve latched right on to Ireland and they are really going after the skilled people,” he said. “I would think a lot of the new opportunities here — and some people are working on it by the way, this is coming together — I think over the next short while you’ll see a much more organized, concerted effort by Newfoundland to go after trained, skilled people.”

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Board of Trade

Geographic location: Canada, Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador Saskatchewan United States Alberta Manitoba British Columbia

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Recent comments

  • Itsallgood
    March 14, 2013 - 08:02

    Loyola SHUT UP......Before you speak. WORSE AGAIN, tell Newfoundlanders what we should be doing, I encourage you to reflect on how your allegiance has served this province in the past. Elephants never forget !!

  • Corporate Psycho
    March 13, 2013 - 20:03

    Sold us out before and wants to do it again.

  • pfft
    March 13, 2013 - 12:45

    lots of workers (apprentices) here. Lots of undeducated baymen that could be educated if the government was willing to make the investment but i guess they'ed rather see people on endless EI cycles, min. wage jobs and welfare than pay for schooling to better this province.

    • a business man
      March 15, 2013 - 14:30

      Why on earth would the government PAY to train people when there are foreigners who are trained and ready to work. Why would I want a newly trained local when there is a foreign trained workers with more experiences? Lastly, why would I hire someone who got a free education on the taxpayers dime while I busted by butt to put myself through law school and business school. If given the choice, I would hire a foreigner worker over a local because I would get more experience, and because I personally don't want to support government policy that allows someone to get a free education while I had to pay for mine. I will not support government policy that takes my tax dollars to give some bayman something (an education) that I had to pay for. I will not support policy that makes me pay for my education and then pay for someone else education.

  • From a island to a arsehole
    March 13, 2013 - 09:42

    Help us please with our culture of DEFEAT!

  • Politically Incorrect
    March 13, 2013 - 07:58

    Can you imagine the backlash here had the ambassador was addressing an audience from Pakistan, Kenya, or Haiti? Not that I'm saying that racism is rampant... but it is.