OVER 370 parish communities throughout the Shannon Region are being targeted to take part in an innovative programme to identify and reunite their local diaspora abroad.
Following a successful pilot in East Galway, the Shannon Region will be the first region in the country to be mobilised under The Ireland Reaching Out programme, a partnership project with Shannon Development and local LEADER groups.
Over the past two months, Shannon Development has facilitated numerous meetings to put structures in place to enable community involvement.
Working with LEADER groups across the region, the Ireland XO programme will engage with all interested parishes.
In the coming weeks, John Joe Conwell, parish liaison officer and Henry Healy, community activation leader and members of the Ireland Reaching Out team will be holding information sessions in Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Offaly.
Shannon Development’s Tourism marketing manager, Paul Ryan explained the expansion of Ireland XO into the Shannon Region is the beginning of a new chapter in heritage tourism, with the potential to deliver additional international visitors to the Shannon Region in 2013 and beyond.
“It will generate a renewed sense of community among the Shannon Region diaspora and complements the work we are doing on The Gathering, which will bring over 325,000 additional visitors to Ireland in 2013,” he said.
Anyone with an interest in their community, its history, tourism, business or genealogy, is encouraged to get involved and learn more about the project.
While Ireland XO parish volunteers are reaching out around the world, the website www.irelandxo.com provides a landing point in Ireland for people abroad who have some detail about where their emigrant ancestors hail from in the country.
By joining any parish community online, they can seek direct genealogical research assistance from local people in the area who volunteer to meet them on their return.
For further information on upcoming parish meetings or in getting involved, contact email@example.com, 091 842013 or Paul Ryan at Shannon Development on firstname.lastname@example.org or 086 2259728.