The arrival or departure of a large-scale employer like Asahi has obvious economic impacts but also combines with social and cultural aspects to affect the overall uniqueness of an area. One impact identified by Justin Sammon in this audio clip was that of the movement of people back to County Mayo and of the importance of a sense of place, ‘people I suppose like to rear children where they were reared themselves’.
Transcript: Asahi and population change in County Mayo
You mentioned then immigration, how at the time when Asahi came in the late 70s and through the 80s it sort of halted emigration, flight.
It was the people who came back from England to work in those places
Oh yes. This was a general effect of multi-nationals in the 70s and 80s, you would see it in schools, there were a lot of accents, teachers and inspectors coming to the West of Ireland, noticed families that had returned from places like Germany, America, England. So rural Ireland started to get re-populated and there were new skill sets I suppose and people started to go to school longer too because there was a wage coming into houses so they didn’t have to emigrate.
To leave school at 16 or 18, they could afford to stay on at school?
Because their parents were employed, a cash economy developed.
That is interesting. So the population changed both within Mayo, County Mayo, a movement, concentration, around that area to employment, lots of people moving back
People do move back very quickly, you see that even if there is any stir now people will come back.
If there is work there.
Because there is the concept of geographers of a sense of place and how that links to your view of the world. People I suppose like to rear children where they were reared themselves. I don’t know does that still obtain but I suspect it’s true.
One of the tangible legacies of Asahi was the Killala Community Centre which it helped to build. Asahi, in a gesture of goodwill at the time of closure, contributed £200,000 towards job creation projects in North Mayo and also contributed to the Killala Community Council project at the community centre.
Killala Community Centre
Now move on to Killala 2015: a new economic layer.
See all the articles in this series
See all the series in the Change in the West of Ireland collection
This article is part of a collection on the 'Uniqueness, Interdependence, Uneven Development and Change in the West of Ireland'. To find out more about the collection, a good place to start is the introduction, Change in the West of Ireland.