IRELAND’S Minister for the Diaspora Ciarán Cannon has called on the national postal service to issue a stamp honouring the Irish abroad.
In a statement made this week, Minister Cannon urged An Post to issue a stamp “honouring the contribution of our diaspora to society both at home and abroad”.
He said: “In the past few weeks we have seen commemorative stamps issued to mark the death of controversial revolutionary Ché Guevara and the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima.
“As 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the opening of the first General Post Office in Ireland, I would encourage those responsible in An Post to commission and issue a stamp honouring our Global Irish.”
Following the Minister's statement, a spokesperson for An Post told The Irish Post that Minister Cannon had been in touch with them and that they were "discussing his proposal".
However, they confirmed that their 2018 issues have already been finalised and they are now working on ideas for 2020.
Supporting his 'Global Irish' request, the Minister explained that money sent back home in emigrants’ letters totalled €260million during the nineteenth century.
“Millions of letters were sent home by Irish emigrants during the nineteenth century, with some €260m calculated as the total sent in contributions to family members struggling to eke out a living on the land,” he said.
“Many of these contributions made the difference between life and death to some families and a number of such letters are still preserved as family heirlooms in many Irish households today.
"Not only do they give an invaluable insight into the struggles of our diaspora abroad, but they provide hugely significant historical data on the times.”
Regarding his potentital for a 'Global Irish' set of stamps, he added: “What better way to honour our Irish abroad and what better way to show that they are still very much part of our national conversation, than to acknowledge them via a medium that has kept us in touch with them for nearly two centuries’.
A spokesperson for An Post said: “We are more than happy to speak with Minister Cannon on possible stamp ideas. Unfortunately, the programme for 2018 is complete and we are now working on the stamp programme for 2020.
"Indeed we encourage suggestions for stamps for 2020 and beyond.”
An post sold out their controversial Ché Guevara stamp, which had an initial print run of 122,000, within days, and enjoyed "healthy sales" of their commemorative Fatima stamp, they told The Irish Post.