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  • Institutes of Tech launch programme aimed at 2nd- and 3rd-generation Irish abroad

    Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

    Well over a decade ago, I attended an event in Boston in which an Irish-born parent bemoaned the fact that he was unable to afford to send his children to college in Ireland, as they would be required to pay the full fee applicable to non-EU residents.  This was, of course, despite the fact that these children of Irish-born parents were Irish citizens themselves.  Citizenship was irrelevant in deciding college costs; residency was all. The situation seemed yet another way in which Ireland’s institutions at the time were so often indifferent to the desire of the Irish abroad to maintain connections, and to the additional advantages that could be gained by deepening relations with the second-generation Irish abroad.

    So it was with great interest that I learned of a new initiative to be launched by the Taoiseach in Washington DC tomorrow.  Led by Brian McNamara of the Waterford Institute of Technology, the “Ireland Homecoming Study Programme” will entitle mostly at second- and third-generation Irish people living in non-EU countries to study at one of eight Institutes of Technology for a discount of as much as 40% off the non-EU residency rate.

    The ITs involved in the pilot programme, which is supported by Enterprise Ireland, are Athlone, Blanchardstown, Carlow, Cork, Dundalk Galway/Mayo, Sligo, and Waterford.  Students may take undergraduate degree courses or shorter courses of study. The target is for 500 students over the next three years, with the qualification requirements is roughly the same as for citizenship eligibility.

    IHSP creator and co-ordinator Brian McNamara  said:

    “The ‘Global Irish’ can now obtain very affordable qualifications in Ireland through the IHSP. As a nation, we have long recognised the important role that the Irish Diaspora or Global Irish play in promoting Irish culture and trade. This initiative will offer a practical benefit to the off-spring of Irish people abroad by allowing their children obtain an exceptional Irish education at highly competitive rates. The programme will aim to attract over 500 students over the next three years contributing an estimated €10 million to the Irish economy?.

    Gerry Murray, Chief Executive of Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI), added:

    “We intend that this exciting new programme will generate a new crop of goodwill ambassadors to promote Irish commerce and culture worldwide. The eight Institutes in this pilot scheme have been carefully chosen for their academic range and excellence, research reputation, cultural and social infrastructure. It is a win-win opportunity for ambitious students and for Ireland.?

    This is an initiative which feels very much in keeping with the spirit of the recent Farmleigh Global Economic Forum; I feel like I’m sounding like a broken record these days, but I’m delighted to see these kinds of initiatives which are as much about giving back to the diaspora as they are about the diaspora’s benefits to Ireland. Win-win moves like this are much to be applauded.

    More information on and applications for participation in the IHSP for the eligible children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Irish emigrants can be accessed at See also the programme’s Facebook page.

    Related pages:

    A President’s Notebook: Education and the Irish Diaspora

    Ireland Homecoming Study Programme: