Tuesday 14 February 2012
The Remittance Men
In the 19th century and even into the 20th (pre- air travel) some families employed a technique for ridding themselves of black sheep (the metaphorical kind, not the woolly ones that go ‘baa’.)
Step 1: buy black sheep passage for New World (USA, Canada, Australia.)
Step 2: put black sheep on boat
Step 3: send money regularly on condition that black sheep never returns home.
These exiled ne’er-do-wells were known as remittance men, from the remittance cheques they received.
Recently I’ve been wondering if this system isn’t still alive and well. This might explain the success Ronan Keating and Brian McFadden are currently enjoying on prime time Australian tv.
Is funding the deportation of Irish former boyband members the real source of Ireland’s economic difficulties?