Irish Government urged to connect with new wave of emigrants through Diaspora database

Irish Government urged to connect with new wave of emigrants through Diaspora database

EMIGRANTS feel neglected by the Irish Government, according to a Catholic social care agency that’s calling for a Diaspora database to be set up.

Crosscare, an agency of the Dublin Archdiocese, is urging the Irish Government to connect with emigrants, in particular those who have left in recent years.

It has also called on the state to create a database of Irish emigrants abroad, suggesting a potential launch date of St Patrick’s Day 2015.

The database, Crosscare believes, would create a stronger online connection between the Government and its Diaspora. It could also be used to inform young Irish people abroad about potential job opportunities in an improving Irish economy.

Staff from Crosscare’s Migrant Project made a number of proposals in front of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday, (Wednesday 1) urging the Irish Government to move with the times.

Since April 2008 a quarter of a million Irish people have left the Republic of Ireland.

“What is unique about this wave of emigration is that it is the first in the internet age and in many respects, the current Irish emigrant is more connected with home by using social media and internet video calls,” said Joe O’Brien, Policy Officer for Crosscare Migrant Project.

“However, the Irish Government has not moved with the times and in our experience, emigrants abroad continue to feel neglected by the Irish state.”

Crosscare now wants to see the creation of an e-mail database of Irish people abroad – the Irish Emigrant Register.

The register, according to Crosscare, could be used by the state to send regular messages or newsletters to its citizens living abroad.

“As jobs emerge in an improving economy we believe that the Government has a responsibility to notify emigrants directly of such vacancies,” said Mr. O Brien. “At a broader level it could be used as a consultation tool in the development of Government policy across a range of areas.

He added: “Research has shown that recent Irish emigrants are staying very connected to current and political affairs in Ireland – this connection and interest needs to be reciprocated formally and officially by the state.

"In a globalised world we should take the lead in showing other global nations how to stay connected and prove how much our Diaspora means to us by establishing the Irish Emigrant Register.”

To read the proposal for the Irish Emigrant Register submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade click here