The Government has approved a new Diaspora Strategy for the period 2020-2025. The Strategy sets out what the Government will do over the next five years to support and engage with our diaspora communities around the world. It takes a broad and inclusive definition of the diaspora, reflecting the diversity of the global Irish community today. The Strategy also reflects the priorities in the Programme for Government, in particular, the commitments
- to ensure that the most vulnerable of our overseas communities are supported;
- to hold a referendum to extend the right to vote in Presidential elections to Irish citizens, wherever they live;
- to seek pathways to legal migration to the US and solutions for undocumented Irish citizens;
- to promote opportunities by the next generation of the Diaspora to work and study in Ireland;
- to address barriers facing emigrants who are returning home.
Welcoming the publication of the new Strategy, the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, T.D., said
I am very pleased to launch Ireland’s new strategy for the Diaspora, central to which is a deep appreciation of the profound importance of connection. For many, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has placed a renewed emphasis on their relationship and links to Ireland.
There are around 70 million people around the world who are Irish-born or of Irish descent and this Strategy celebrates these people, and all who have a special affinity with Ireland. It cherishes their diversity, champions our connections with each other and seeks to give our diaspora a strengthened voice within Irish life, while also setting out the many ways this Government will work to support the Irish abroad.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, T.D., welcomed the new Strategy and said
The commitment by the Government to holding a referendum to extending voting rights in Presidential elections to our citizens outside the State provides a real opportunity to engage all citizens around the world in our democracy. It underlines the importance attached by the Government to making the Presidency an office which truly represents all the citizens of Ireland.
Minister of State for the Diaspora, Colm Brophy, T.D., said
Our first priority always will be the welfare of our people abroad. Irish community-based organisations play a vital role in helping vulnerable Irish emigrants and we will continue to support their work through the Emigrant Support Programme. Just as Ireland is changing, so too is the experience of emigration. Young people will still go abroad but, when they want to come home, we want to make that an easy process. Ireland is today a more diverse and multicultural country and so too is our diaspora. This is something we value and will celebrate.
Minister of State Anne Rabbitte TD said:
Our diaspora and the 70 million people around the world who are Irish-born or of Irish descent are our evangelists. This Strategy celebrates these people and all who have a special relationship with Ireland. I welcome wholeheartedly this latest development one that seeks to give our diaspora a strengthened voice within Irish life, while also setting out the many ways this Government will work to support the Irish abroad.