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Government need to outline their Diaspora policy – Ó Clochartaigh

19 February, 2015

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Diaspora, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, has called on the government to outline what they are doing to support Irish emigrants across the globe.

Speaking in the Seanad today he says:

‘St. Patricks Day will see the usual exodus of government Ministers to the four corners of the globe to promote Ireland internationally.

‘I want to know what the government plans to do to uphold the rights of our emigrants, those who left these shores many years ago and those forced to leave in recent years due to the economic crisis.

‘Minister Deenihan has promised us a Diaspora Policy and I want that published and debated in the parliament before the Ministers go abroad, so that we can have an input into the debate on issues affecting the Irish overseas.

‘Irish emigrants want to know what the government intends to do in relation to voting rights in elections, representation in our Houses of Parliament and the retention of their right to vote if and when they wish to return.

‘Many Irish people are doing very well for themselves, but there are a lot of others who need support settling in to their new homes, accessing labour markets, housing, health services and the like. We also need to review the support given to emigrants returning and remove any barriers `that may be in their way.

‘I am happy that the government have today acceded to my request to have this debate before St. Patrick’s Day, so that we can highlight the many opportunities having such a talented and supportive diaspora gives us as a country, but also recognising the obligations this state has to support its citizens across the globe in return.

‘The engagement of Government Ministers with Irish communities across the globe at this time of year must be a meaningful one and not a PR stunt which isn’t backed by action on the issues our people hold dear, no matter where they find themselves living now.’

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