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My friends may emigrate but I'm the teen that's staying put

TALK to many of my generation and they'll tell you they're jumping ship on Ireland as soon as they can. I can't blame them in one way. New Government or not, things aren't good and they're not going to get better anytime soon.

But me? I've made my mind up. I'm not leaving.

The way I see it, my country is at the point where it needs me most. These are bad times and I'm not running away. I want to stay and see them sorted out.



suffering

It's loyalty that's keeping me here, simple as that. I grew up here. I've played and laughed and eaten the food here. I have been educated here my whole life and I want to go to college here.

I've taken and taken, all the things I need to date to get me along in life and I could never bring myself to just abandon Ireland just when, clearly, I am needed the most. I can see the lack of responsibility that others feel. After all, it wasn't their fault, as mere kids in the boom years, that we got screwed by the banks. It wasn't their fault our Government at the time failed to prepare. It wasn't their fault even when they drove our debt sky high. And I understand how on the face of it now many can throw their hands up and say "That's not on me. And I'm not suffering the consequences of it. No way."

But, the way I see it, it isn't the fault of doctors and paramedics when you're sick or injured either. Yet they don't back away. They help. Sure, it's their job, but it's our job too as citizens of our sick and injured country to help it up off the floor.

What I want to do, unlike anyone of my generation that I know, is to head into politics. I want to stay put and sort out Ireland's problems and I think the best place to start is with our poisoned political system. There are a lot of changes to be made and just up and leaving isn't going to get them sorted. If there's one thing I've learned in my short life, it's that running away never solved anything.

If people who are unhappy with things and are so ready to say that they are so unhappy, up and leave, where does that put the rest of us? Left holding the can, that's where.

Staying here, I'll be able to study law with politics and political science. I'm driven by this very feeling that things are so wrong and that we need someone to put them right, someone with a passion for what they do. Being able to make a difference instead of hoping someone else will, is exactly who I am.

And believe me, I know that life in places like California and Florida or Australia or all these other places my peers are running off to have sun, fun and, most likely, better employment opportunities. But I can't leave knowing that if I stayed I might really make a difference.

I am ready for years of financial hardship if need be. Yes, it's going to be difficult. Yes, it will be stressful. But if I take these things on and I make it through, then we're all the better off, aren't we?

People of my age are the ones who have been left to pick up the pieces. The more of us who, like me, choose to tough road, to stay and help, the better