Following a recommendation by last years’ Global Irish Economic Forum, the Irish Government is welcoming of a ‘youth gathering’ program, in which children of Irish emigrants will be able to visit Ireland to better get to know their country of heritage.
The program would be geared toward children ages 12 to 15, and would last for up to two weeks of the summer. The Forum suggested it would be ‘akin to a homecoming’ for the children of the diaspora, who would first receive a certificate of Irish heritage.
The notes state that the aim of this program would be to encourage people to trace their Irish roots and to ‘strengthen links with those of Irish ancestry’ – it was never anticipated that the certificate itself would provide Ireland with much revenue, as it costs $54.
Any revenue would be due to the increased tourism, the purchasing of Irish goods and services by visitors, ‘and the expansion of Irish business networks.’
The trip would give the children of the diaspora a flavor of Irish education, culture and an opportunity to trace their roots. And in addition, it was suggested that they’d be able to engage with enterprise, perhaps through social media or Google, ‘to get a sense of what Ireland is all about.’
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said they weren’t yet aware of this program, but that it’s possible for the individual members of the Global Irish Network to have developed the initiative.
Since the issuing of ‘certificates of Irish heritage’ in September 2011, about 2,500 have been issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, including high-profile gift certificates to Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and others.