Ireland's first official diaspora policy was published yesterday in a 57-page document called Global Irish: Ireland's Diaspora Policy. It recognises the unique and important relationship between Ireland and its diaspora and sets out actions to nurture and develop this relationship, and to engage the diaspora.
As well as the downloadable booklet, a new online presence has been created as a sub-site of the Department of Foreign Affairs website; it holds information for the diaspora on support services, living abroad, staying in touch, and returning home to Ireland. It's at https://www.dfa.ie/global-irish/.
A number of new initiatives are contained in the policy. They include a new Global Irish Media Fund to encourage and support media coverage of the diaspora and emigration experience, and an alumni challenge fund to provide seed-funding to new collaborative initiatives by Irish institutions to target their Irish and non-Irish graduates working internationally.
The Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan TD is going to establish an Interdepartmental Committee to oversee the implementation of the Policy, which will be reviewed after two years.
In the meantime, a Global Irish Forum will be held in June and a fourth Global Irish Economic Forum will be held in Dublin in November 2015.
As you'd expect, the document isn't exactly a laugh-a-minute, but it's worth a browse. I was interested to study some of the graphs on recent emigration from Ireland, for example, and quite surprised by some of the figures they revealed. I also saw that the operation of the Certificate of Irish Heritage scheme is to be reviewed.