Loretto: So we graduated in 1991, where did you go onto from
Pauline: I stayed in UCG, I did a further degree. I did the
LLB and then I went from there, eventually, to the apprenticeship to get
qualified as a solicitor.
Loretto: OK and how long did that whole process take?
Pauline: Believe it or not it took the best part of, well
let me see. That was 1991 and I qualified in 1999, so it took two more years
for my degree; my LLB, so that was up to ’93. And then I went to America for a
year, and then I came back. And then I think it took me a year or so, maybe a
little bit more before I got the apprenticeship, before I could secure an
apprenticeship because it was really hard at the time. And then I qualified in
Loretto: So you were qualified in 1999. Why was it difficult
to get an apprenticeship at the time Pauline?
because of the economics. Ah, there was no work really in Ireland at the
time. And am, thee boom hadn’t kicked in until closer to 1999, 2000. And during
the ‘90’s it was hard enough to get work, especially for, especially
apprnticeships. They were really difficult to get.
Loretto: Right. So even though we keep hearing that the boom
started in 1994 or 1995 you were not feeling the effects of it in your
profession until 2000
Pauline: Oh no! And Lon (Loretto), I was working in a
solicitor’s office in 1994 and 1995 and there was no boom in ’94 and ’95. There
was no property boom definitely. It was later; it wasn’t until around ’99, ’98,
’99 that house prices started to go up.
Loretto: What were you doing in the solicitor’s office? Was
that inGalway Pauline?
Pauline: Yes. During my apprenticeship?
Loretto: Yeah. That you had a feel for what was happening
among houses and that?
Pauline: Well, I started off first doing secretarial type
work, but then I was doing the basic work of conveying a house, before I
qualified I could do that, but under the tutelage of my master. So while I was
doing the work, it was my bosses name that was on the paper work. If you understand?
Loretto: Right. Now you mentioned that when you finished
your LLB Pauline that you went to America for one year, we’re talking
’93 and ’94, when supposedly the boom was happening, but we couldn’t see it. Was there unemployment still? Why did you go
Pauline: Well purely because I wanted to Loretto. I wanted
to spend a year in America
with Margaret (sister) I had a green card at the time. And purely to save some
money before I went back to do the apprenticeship, because I needed some money,
because I knew I would be earning so little as an apprentice.
Loretto: So you came back to Ireland, you got your
apprenticeship and you were fully qualified by 1999. From 1999 onwards can you
tell what differences you saw in Ireland that contributed to the
so-called boom? I mean did you see am, more houses going up.
Pauline: The boom was purely property.
Loretto: It was purely property?
Loretto: Did it effect your profession at all?
Pauline: Of course it did. Because there was plenty of work
for solicitor’s at that time because of the property boom.
Loretto: Where are you living now Pauline?
Loretto: How long have you been there?
Pauline: Two years.
Loretto: What made you leave Irelandtwo years ago? Did you see
something that was …?
Pauline: Yes, I saw the end of the boom.
Loretto: How did that manifest itself?
Pauline: We had a B&B and because of the property boom
and the government had given tax incentives to hotels, for new hotels to be
built. So there was a glut of new hotels all around the country. That pretty
much killed off the B&B industry. But we had managed to sell our house, and
I had, when D (son) was two years of age, which was in 2005, the end of 2005; I
took a career break because I wanted to be at home with D (son) while he was
small and we still had the B&B. So two years later we sold the B&B, but
by then it was difficult to get back into legal work, because the end was near,
the end of the boom. We were looking at buying a different business, but it
didn’t work out because banks were no longer lending money. So because we
didn’t see ourselves having an awful lot of options here at the time we decided
to go toTenerife.
Loretto: So because you were in the service industry you saw
the end before anybody else did?
Pauline: Yeah, I did. Exactly Lon (Loretto) Plus, we were
trying to sell our house and it was in a very prestigious location and we were
told that it would sell no problem etc and we were very, very lucky to sell it
after having two years on the market.
Loretto: Why Tenerife
Pauline: We had been there ten years previous and J
(husband) wanted us to move there then and I wouldn’t because I had just
qualified at the time and I thought I haven’t put in all that effort to move to
Tenerife, because I didn’t like it. Then we
had friends who lived there and they were telling us what a great place it was
to live etc. And then we thought ok, he wanted to move. And am, we went to have
another look at it and we said yeah. So we’ve made the move.
Loretto: The interesting part of this now Pauline is you’re
probably one of the first of thee third group of immigrants to leave. That’s
what’s interesting, it was such a short boom.
And really, let’s face it; you were getting ready to leave
with us in 1991.
Pauline: Yeah, of course.
Loretto: And then the boom picked up. We didn’t even see the
boom in ’94 or ’95. So it was even less than a ten year boom.
Pauline: Yeah. And it was all property driven Loretto,
because the government were making so much money on stamp duty from property
transactions that they did nothing to cool the situation……it was a cash cow. If
they hadn’t been so greedy at the tim, maybe the boom could have been sustained.
They sacrificed natural industry in order to grant planning permission for
properties that should have never been built.
Loretto: When you emigrated in 2009 do you think it was more
difficult for you to emigrate then?
Pauline: Oh yeah!
Loretto: And why?
Pauline: Because I moved to a country where they speak
another language, right? But that was by choice. They speak English and
Spanish. But I had moved with my children and it is so difficult when you don’t
know the systems that are in place in order to provide for children really. You
know? You are liable to make the wrong choices. When you are moving on your
own, you only have yourself to worry about. So it was even more difficult from
that point of view.
Loretto: Was it difficult to pack up and leave Irelandwith
your whole family? I mean what was the emotions like, your Mom….?
Pauline: I was a basket case. (Laughs) And I still am,
because I am not happy that we’ve moved but I don’t see any future for us to
come back right now. There are solicitors you know working in McDonalds and
other institutions of like ilk. So I don’t see any future for J (husband) and
myself back inIreland.
Loretto: Do you think Pauline that you will ever move back
Pauline: Oh I hope to. We tried to move back this summer but
it didn’t work out. The property we were interested in just didn’t come our
way. But I am hoping that next year maybe we will.
Loretto: Were conditions better in Tenerife than Irelandtwo
years ago when you moved?
Pauline: Yes they were and to some extent they still are;
because people in Ireland
are very preoccupied with the downturn. People in Tenerife,
it’s a tourist destination, people are more upbeat. So that does filter through
into lots of things, even though it’s tough in Tenerife
at the minute. People in the service industry don’t make a lot of money in
Tenerife, so that all filters through into the, other businesses, but you know
tourist numbers are still up in Tenerife and from that point of view I think
Tenerife has a future, but Ireland doesn’t at the minute.