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Minister Jimmy Deenihan T.D.
launches Global Irish:
Ireland's Diaspora Policy
Over many generations, large numbers of
Irish people have had to leave Ireland and
make their homes and lives elsewhere. The
result of this repeated pattern of emigration
on such a scale is that today the Irish nation
stretches far beyond the boundaries of our
small island state, but the bond between
those who stayed and those who left has
remained strong and enduring. The Irish
diaspora comprises emigrants from Ireland,
their descendants around the world and
those with a tangible connection to Ireland.
The scale of our diaspora is truly remarkable,
with some estimating 70 million people,
although it is difficult to be precise about the
exact number.
The diaspora comprises people of different
interests, beliefs, and different reasons for
being outside Ireland. It is young and old
people; those who have found success
abroad and those who have not; those who
have left Ireland by choice and those who
left by compulsion. In addition, we also now
include a number of people who have spent
time living, studying and working in Ireland
and then returned to their home countries,
often with Irish born children.
We engage with our diaspora to enrich
Ireland in every way, to extend our reach in
the world and to give a sense of belonging
to the many Irish and Irish descended
people around the world. We learn from our
diaspora and incorporate their experiences
in other countries in all aspects of Irish life.
Our overarching goal is to deepen the con-
nections between Ireland and the Irish over-
seas. It is about developing and sustaining
long-term relationships. Engaging with the
diaspora is about building for the future.
Ireland is already recognised as a leader in
diaspora engagement as relations with the
diaspora have always been a part of our
political, social and economic life. Members
of our diaspora have been engaging with
Ireland and with each other since before the
foundation of our State. Over the last fifteen
years there has been a deepening recogni-
tion of that relationship, and the Govern-
ment felt it was timely to take stock of this
and identify clear priorities for the future.
My own appointment as Ireland's first Minis-
ter for Diaspora Affairs in July 2014, based in
both the Department of the Taoiseach and
the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
underlined that managing relations with the
diaspora is a whole of government responsi-
bility. Since my appointment I have priori-
tised publishing the Government's first Dias-
pora Policy Global Irish.
We want to:
Support the Diaspora
Connect with the Diaspora
Facilitate diaspora engagement
Recognise the Diaspora
And continue to evolve the Policy to
meet changing diaspora needs.
Our policy does not create or define the
diaspora. What it can do is contribute to the
activation and mobilisation of the Irish over-
seas, and further a sense that the Global Irish
are a vital part of the Irish nation. For more
information on our diaspora policy and to
sign up for our Global Irish newsletter please
visit our new Global Irish website at
Jimmy Deenihan T.D.
Minister for Diaspora Affairs