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    “Towards an Irish Diaspora Policy”: authors seek feedback

    By Noreen Bowden | May 20, 2008

    Two Maynooth academics have published “Towards an Irish Diaspora Strategy: A Position Paper”. Mark Boyle, a Geography professor, and Rob Kitchim, the Director of the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis and Chair of the Irish Social Services Platform, are welcoming feedback on the working paper, which is published by the NIRSA.

    The paper suggests that it is now time to develop a unifying strategy for its relationship with the diaspora. With the shrinking Diaspora and the changing nature of the Irish experience both at home and abroad, Boyle and Kitchim say that strengthening Diaspora initiatives could extend social, cultural, political and economic benefits for all parties.

    The authors say:

    The central ethos of an Irish Diaspora strategy should be that by helping each other – building networks of support, sharing advice, creating new ventures – Ireland, the Irish Diaspora and their new country of residence, the ‘New Irish’ and their home countries, all benefit and nobody is exploited. Here it is important to conceive of the Diaspora not as a primed resource waiting to be tapped, but rather as a precious resource to be cared for and tended, valued and re-engerised. As such, a strategy should not be conceived in terms of using the Diaspora but growing in partnership with it.

    The authors propose that four relationships should be considered in an Irish diaspora strategy:

    • Ireland – Irish Diaspora
    • Ireland – New Irish
    • Irish Diaspora – Irish Diaspora
    • Irish Diaspora – New Irish.

    They note, “Our focus has been on growing together in partnership, but it should be noted that the question concerning the voting rights of Irish citizens abroad needs to be part of the wider discussion and consultation process concerning a Diaspora strategy.”

    Boyle and Kitchim envision this document as part of the first step toward a Diaspora strategy; they envision a consultation period, the formulation of a “Green Paper” setting out the proposed strategy, a debate on that Green Paper leading to the drafting a White Paper, and then the implementation of the strategy.

    See the working paper on the NIRSA website.

    Topics: Diaspora policy, Latest News | 1 Comment »

    One Response to ““Towards an Irish Diaspora Policy”: authors seek feedback”

    1. D Barnwell Says:
      February 15th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

      It’s always whet we can get from the Diaspora, there is never any sense of bonds of kindred. The Constitution has some mumbo-jumbo about “cherishing people of Irish ancestry abroad” but of course this has never been put into practice.
      A case in point came when Argentina was passing through a truly dreadful crisis some five or six years ago. Irish-Argentines appealed to the land of their ancestors for permission to come and make a living. They were refused.

      Meanwhile people with no connection to Ireland or indeed knowledge of it, Latvians, Lithuanians, Nigerians etc. came freely into the country.

      The irony is that there are quite a few Irish Argentinians now living in Ireland. But they acquired permission to stay here through having Italian or Spanish ancestry–these countries gave them a passport based on ethnic heritage and blood line!