A DETERMINED fundraiser is hoping to raise enough cash to buy two properties in Ireland to house retired ex-pats who wish to return to their roots.
Over many years working as a plumber among the Irish community in Birmingham, Thomas Taylor heard time and time again the tales of men and women who hoped to head back home in their retirement.
A lack of funding had left most of them unable to realise their dream, which led Mr Taylor – whose parents hailed from counties Limerick and Dublin – to launch a novel crowdfunding campaign.
“I have started a crowdfunding campaign called Comeover’Eire to raise enough funds to purchase two properties to allow single Irish people to return to Ireland,” he told The Irish Post.
“Being a plumber in Birmingham I met a lot of people over the years, many who were single older Irish people who wanted to return home but were not in a position to do so.”
He added: “I have a house in Leitrim and go back regularly and was shocked this year in particular to see how many large houses there are lying empty in Ireland.
“It got me thinking that these would be ideal places to house the men and women in Britain who want to go back home but can’t afford to do so on their own.”
Mr Taylor now hopes to raise enough cash to purchase two six-bedroom homes in Ireland.
If successful, he will offer rooms at affordable rates to Irish people in Britain who wish to return home.
“You can get a six bed property in the country in Ireland for about £100,000 these days,” he explains.
“So I hope to raise £200,000 via my crowdfunding platform and have two properties, one for women and the other for men.
“They will in effect rent rooms from me, but this will be at affordable prices and any money made will be invested in further properties to offer the service to more people.”
The 56-year-old, who was born and raised in Birmingham but has a home in Carrick-on-Shannon, is hoping to hear from people who may be interested in his scheme.
He will take suggestions on where the best location for these properties might be.
“I am very keen to make this happen, it would be great to be able to bring people home who haven’t been able to get there,” he added.
“But I am also hoping to hear back from people as to where they want to be in Ireland and will wait to receive more feedback before deciding on any potential locations for these properties.”
Mr Taylor revealed his ambitious plans to Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan during his trip to Birmingham last month and claims he was “supportive” of the idea.
For further information visit the Comeover’Eire site on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.