The Irish government is reaching out to Irish emigrants and their descendants around the world.
They want to hear their views on how effectively Ireland engages with its diaspora – the worldwide family of people of Irish descent. The public consultation is part of the government’s review of its relationship with the wider Irish community.
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said: “The diaspora is diverse, encompassing those who left in recent years and the descendants of those who left 100 years ago, or more. We want to hear from all of the Irish overseas.”
The worldwide Irish community is very important to Ireland. Last year the number of tourists visiting the country exceeded the number of citizens living there. A large proportion of those tourists were visiting Irish relatives of descended from Irish families who emigrated decades or centuries ago.
In total, more than 8 million people visited Ireland in 2013, mainly thanks to the tourism campaign, the Gathering, which encouraged people of Irish descent to visit the land of their ancestors.
Ireland has strong economic links to other countries thanks to its diaspora. Gilmore also said that the diaspora had played an important part in bringing peace to Ireland.
Members of Ireland’s diaspora who want to give their opinions on issues such as emigration and the government’s engagement with emigrants can have their say. Details of how to submit their views can be found here.