Not everyone hates Putin these days – and that’s especially true of the auctioneer’s profession, which is based in some of Ireland’s most remote regions. The whole thing has gone crazy, explained one agent, five years ago you couldn’t get anyone to look at a country house – and now the whole world wants half an acre of moorland in the middle of nowhere. While the pandemic legacy of working from home set the prelude to this rustic romance, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has taken the passion for a pastoral idyll to an overwhelming peak.
Rocks and rushes – the bane of every farmer’s life – have suddenly turned vast agricultural acres into six-figure gold mines in the most remote corners. Poor land on poorly drained hills or oozing lots on deserted valley floors are the prize many billionaires from Silicon Valley to Shanghai are chasing. In a line from Baltimore to Buncrana, helicopter tours have been a growing industry for six months.
Substitute “wild” for “rich” and you have an apt description of how these wealthy folk gaze upon our scenic Atlantic Way in search of escape. Even before David Attenborough made us witness pitiful polar bears stranded on shrinking ice shelves, Ireland was shortlisted with New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland as a safe haven from climate change catastrophe.
But then came the Ukraine invasion, and the doomsday clock slipped a few minutes closer to midnight. Bad enough that we had to consider the prospect of rising sea levels, but when Putin raised the threat of a nuclear apocalypse, longing for a slice of peaceful seclusion in places like Connemara’s Inagh Valley or Cavan’s Deerpark Forest skyrocketed.
If Ireland wants a future shock picture of how a potential influx of wealthy climate refugees might play out, look no further at New Zealand’s current plans to become the first country in the world to recognize climate change as an official reason for seeking asylum.
They are even considering creating a special Kiwi visa category for weather migrants. Think, however, of those Dubliners who, weary from exorbitant rents, finally scraped together just enough money to buy a house in Leitrim – only to find that a battalion of billionaires looking for safe havens got there first, to push prices within their reach.
On the plus side, the arrival of these luxury-loving blow-ins will create a mini service industry to cater to their every whim. Everything from dog walkers to temporary cooks will be in demand, not to mention how willing they are to overpay for food products.
Just as Dinny feathered eggs all those years ago in Glenroe to grow as expensive organically, there will no doubt be similar agricultural entrepreneurs eager to lighten the wallets of our newly arrived climate change immigrants. Though we may face a bleak future of mass flooding and nuclear Armageddon, wealthy visitors to our island sanctuary are welcomed to the mat.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/ireland-has-become-an-attractive-safe-haven-island-for-affluent-climate-change-migrants-looking-for-somewhere-to-hide-42034832.html Ireland has become an attractive island of refuge for wealthy climate migrants looking for a place to hide