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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:

    More Irish students seeking places at British universities

    Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

    Irish students are applying to British colleges and universities at an accelerating pace this year. The Irish Post is reporting that the nmber of applications from Ireland for British places is up more than 13%, with 5,425, or  nearly 14% of students who sat their Leaving Cert exam this year, making such an application.

    The newspaper reports that the major factor in the shift is the student fears over the possibility of the reintroduction of fees, and also notes the heavy promotion efforts British universities are aiming at Irish students.

    Related web page:
    Irish Post: Young Irish on course for Britain

    20% of grads may emigrate for work: study

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

    One in five university students surveyed are planning on emigrating to find work, according to a poll taken by University College Cork’s student union in conjunction with Senator Alan Kelly of the Labour Party. The survey interviewed 339 students at UCC, Cork Institute of Technology, University of Limerick and the Limerick Institute of Technology.

    The survey found that one-fifth of the final year and post-graduate students are planning to emigrate, while nearly 90% of those surveyed have no work lined up for when their studies finish this summer. Over half feel they have little chance of finding a job, and 63% are pessimistic about the future. About half the students polled are planning to remain in education.

    Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said of the findings:

    “The students in colleges across Munster should be aiming to be the generation who will lead the European project and the Irish economy in the future, but that will not happen if we are just throwing the next generation on the dole queue,” he said.

    The UCC student union has called for a graduate placement programme in response to the survey.

    Additionally, there was an article in the Irish Times highlighting the effects of the downturn on three students; two of the featured students said they were considering emigrating after graduating.

    One of them, Alan O’Connor, a 23-year-old science student at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, said, “I’ve sent out a load of CVs, but have had no response yet. I’ll keep trying until September and then I’ll head to Canada.”

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