Ireland's Diaspora Minister Colm Brophy announced that the next Global Irish Civic Forum will take place in Dublin in April of next year. The last forum took place in 2017, and another in-person gathering was postponed due to the pandemic.
Speaking on Monday, Brophy said the Irish government is looking forward to convening members of its diaspora in person for the third time – the first forum was held in 2015.
Delighted to launch the Global Irish Civic Forum earlier today, which will be held in Dublin in April 2023. A great gathering of Irish diaspora groups, and a wonderful opportunity to connect and discuss the referendum on presidential voting rights. pic.twitter.com/p3ebr2m2aT— Colm Brophy (@brophytalks) November 21, 2022
“These gatherings are first and foremost about connections. It is an opportunity for government to connect in-person with its diaspora partners. It is an opportunity for Irish community organisations from all over the world to connect with each other,” he said.
“We are a community and at the heart of any community must be that sense of connection and of togetherness. It is also an opportunity for government to inform and consult with you, Irish community leaders from all over the world, on key policy developments and topical issues.”
Brophy said further details would follow, but issues that will be discussed include the implementation of the government’s Diaspora Strategy 2020-2025, extension of voting rights, the government’s Emigrant Support Programme, enhanced supports for returning emigrants, youth engagement, the legacy of Covid, and diaspora networks in the US and Great Britain.
Speaking of emigrant voting rights, Brophy said, “I want 2023 to be a year when we stimulate and really advance public debate on a referendum to extend voting rights to our diaspora. This forum will be an important point on our journey as we build a pathway towards this referendum.”
The minister added, “This civic Forum will be a platform for discussion and debate. It will also be a springboard for implementing the remainder of the government’s Diaspora Strategy. Most of all, however, it will be about connection, conversation and creative thinking.”
*This column first appeared in the November 23 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.