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Minister Leo Varadkar Photo by: Google Images

The Gathering launched with high hopes by Irish government’s Tourism Minister

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Minister Leo Varadkar Photo by: Google Images

The Irish government expects to generate almost $300million in income from the first Gathering initiative next year.

Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar has officially announced details of The Gathering which will centre on 12 major events in 2013.

Designed to attract Irish expats home from all across the globe, the festival aims to be the biggest ever homecoming event in Ireland’s history.

The Irish Times reports that community groups, sports clubs and universities will all be drafted in to help attract 300,000 extra visitors to Ireland.

Varadkar described The Gathering as: “A call to the Irish Diaspora and to people with a love of Ireland to visit next year for one of the big events planned.

“Twelve major events, including Bloomsday and St Patrick’s Day and the Heineken Cup final, will be used as a focus for the initiative.

“The aim is to bring in an additional 300,000 or so extra visitors to Ireland that year, which would bring an extra €200 million in revenue into the economy.

“This will involve getting communities, local authorities, alumni organisations and sports clubs to make contact with people overseas who might visit Ireland in 2013.”

The Minister wants the event to reach out to Irish ex-pats all around the world.

He added: “It is very much targeted at the Diaspora - both the living Diaspora of people who had left the country in recent years and also the generational Diaspora.”

Irish government ministers will launch the initiative internationally during their St Patrick’s Day trips abroad next week.

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