The Women Are Leaving


In September 1948 a draft memorandum prepared for the first Inter-Party government claimed that ‘a great many of the young girls who emigrate to Britain become pregnant’.many of the reports are tragic and alarming in the extreme.

The continued emigration of large numbers of young women is a disquieting feature of our national life and one which gives rise to serious concern on moral, social and demographic grounds’.

‘Bad girls’: When the Irish State sought to ban emigration of young women to Britain (John Gibney, Irish Times)

Orla writes:

At no point in this otherwise thorough article (above) does the author consider a key reason many young women were leaving Ireland in droves was so they could keep their babies….

In fairness.

13 thoughts on “The Women Are Leaving

      1. Janet, dreams of big guns

        do you think it’s a case of any excuse ?
        You’re probably right but I’d like to think without certain teachings men might have made a better hash of it ( they’re not so bad when you get to know them ;))

    1. Janet, dreams of big guns

      and what was the fundamental difference in England’s attitude to unmarried mother’s , the absence of a dominant catholic ethos ?

  1. Gabby

    Young girls just wanted to have fun. There weren’t enough young Irish men with farms for them to marry. A small number married ageing farm owners, believing the maxim that it was ‘better to be an old man’s darling than a young man’s slave’. This Victorian attitude prevailed among the middle classes all over the UK until victorian values weakened and urbanisation spread. Lady Augusta Gregory as a young woman married Sir William Gregory of Coole Park when he was 35 years older than her. They had one son, Robert. When Sir William died Augusta generally dressed in black and never remarried.

        1. Gabby

          Victorian values (which were only given that name after Her Majesty passed away) prevailed all over the UK including 32-county Ireland. The churches and nonconformists as well as members of the Jewish faith publicly subscribed to them, as the values originated in the Ten Commandments. There was a lot of hypocrisy. In politics the 11th commandment (as today) was Thou shalt not be found out. (Charles Stuart Parnell failed on that one, as historians attest.) The 12th commandment today is: Thou shalt not be found out afterwards, in which case the betrayed voting public can’t do anything about it. Lady Augusta Gregory conformed outwardly to Victorian values and loved her country’s culture above all.

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