June: Global Irish Civic Forum
The first ever Global Irish Civic Forum took place in Dublin Castle in June 2015. Hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan T.D., and Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan T.D., the Global Civic Forum brought together more than 200 delegates from over 140 organisations across 17 countries to discuss and share ideas on working with the Irish diaspora.
The organisations involved provide welfare and support to vulnerable emigrants abroad, organisations who promote Irish culture and heritage, as well as Irish-focused business networks and groups that campaign on behalf of Irish emigrants.
Specific topics for discussion included the challenges facing new Irish emigrants, best ways in which to reach out to members of the Irish diaspora and how to support the mental well-being of our diaspora. Participants also discussed challenges faced by returning Irish emigrants. Workshops on governance, fundraising and communications were also held to encourage greater peer-to-peer learning between organisations.
Many of the groups represented were recipients of funding under the Emigrant Support Programme In 2015, funding of €11.55 million was provided under this Programme to organisations and projects to support Irish communities overseas and to facilitate the development of more strategic links between Ireland and the global Irish.
The organisations funded under the Programme ranged from those providing frontline welfare, information and advisory services to vulnerable Irish emigrants to those engaged in community and heritage projects that strengthen links between Irish communities overseas and home and enable the Irish abroad to express and promote their cultural identity.
The Programme also supported projects aimed at creating practical results-orientated links between Ireland and the global Irish, and projects that emerged as a consequence of the Global Irish Economic Forum. It also supported a number of Irish Business networks abroad which are valuable for Irish business people and professionals wishing to seek opportunities that can provide trade and investment potential for Ireland.
Full details of organisations funded under the Emigrant Support Programme in 2015 are available at: https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/alldfawebsitemedia/ourrolesandpolicies/theirishabroad/2015-Emigrant-Support-Programme-Funding.pdf.