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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:

    Irish-born in US among oldest, least poor

    Monday, March 9th, 2009

    Irish-born residents of the US are among the oldest immigrant groups, and least likely to be poor, according to a survey released by the US Census Bureau. The study examined demographic profiles of the 38.1 million foreign-born population in the US. In 2000, 269,831 of those were Irish.

    The report found that the oldest foreign born populations tend to be from Europe, with those born in Hungary (64 years) and Italy (63.1 years) having the oldest median ages. Those from Greece, Germany and Ireland have median ages of about 60. The median age for the US population as a whole is 36.7, while the total foreign-born population has a median age of 40.2.

    Immigrants from Ireland have a poverty rate of only 5%; those from Ireland and the Netherlands were the least likely to be poor. In contrast, 51% of Somali residents live in poverty, along with about a quarter of those born in Iraq, the Dominican Republic, Jordan and Mexicio.

    In a separate study, the bureau has found that 12% of all Americans report Irish ancestry, or a total of 36 million in 2007.

    In researching this information, I was surprised to find that the Irish don’t even make it into a list of the top 25 countries of birth for immigrants in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as evidenced by this graphic on the New York Times website.

    Related web pages:

    36.5 million US residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2007

    Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

    As it does annually, the US Census Bureau has issued its fact sheet in preparation for the observance of Irish-American Heritage Month. Irish-American Heritage Month takes place every March.  In the fact sheet we learn the following statistics:

    • 36.5 million US residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2007; only Germany can claim more descendants in the US.
    • 24% of Massachusetts residents are of Irish ancestry; 12% of the US population is Irish.
    • 32% of Irish-American adults over 25 have at least a bachelor’s degree, while 92% have at least a high school diploma. This compares to 28% and 85% for the national average.
    • US imports from Ireland totalled $26.2 billion from January to October 2008, while $7.4 billion worth of goods went from the US to Ireland.

    See the full press release from the US Census Bureau.
    See last year’s Presidential proclamation of Irish-American Heritage Month.