Prendergast Urges Communities To Help Diaspora Reconnect With Their Roots

Labour MEP for Ireland South Phil Prendergast has welcomed the creation of
the Ireland Reaching Out initiative and has called on communities around
the country to seize the chance to help the Irish diaspora reconnect with
its roots.

Ireland Reaching Out is a volunteer-run, non-profit programme which helps
ex-pats reconnect with their parishes and vice versa. It is intended to
avail of the economic, social and cultural benefit of Irish people both at
home and abroad creating a virtual Irish community across the globe.

“The Ireland Reaching Out project offers a wonderful opportunity to Irish
communities to get in touch with members who have left. There isn’t a
community in the land that hasn’t been affected by emigration recently and
back through the years,” said Ms Prendergast.

“Emigration has been a feature of Irish life for many generations, the
result of which is that the Irish Diaspora is thought to exceed 70
million. Helping the Diaspora establish a greater sense of their Irish
heritage will enrich our culture and make Ireland a stronger country
internationally.

“It will help build links of friendship for individuals, community groups,
and sporting and cultural organisations. It will also be of economic
benefit driving tourism and attracting investment.”

The programme has been running in Galway for over a year but this week
received the support of Taoiseach Enda Kenny who launched it as a national
initiative.

Under the scheme, parishes research their records, identify descendants
who left the area and invite them to join the Irish Diaspora community.

“This initiative builds on the recently launched Certificate of Irish
Heritage which allows people who can prove Irish ancestry get a framed
certificate recognised by the Irish State,” the Munster MEP added.

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