Tuesday, 14 November 2017
The Diaspora: Statements
I understand the Irish parliamentary forum was a body convened by the first Minister of State for the diaspora, Mr. Deenihan, and it has not sat since. I would like to talk further with the Senator about that. I will be frank. Whether or not we should be spending additional resources on facilitating interparliamentary engagement with the Irish parliamentary diaspora worldwide, and while it may have merit, I think the resources we need to expend now and in the immediate future are on engaging with our diaspora at a much more granular level, getting down into communities, particularly in the UK, Australia, Canada and the US, and finding out, for example, why 70% of Irish-Americans do not engage with any Irish community organisation and why they do not feel that sense of a community and of a greater thing outside of themselves. That is where we need to focus our attention, although I would like to talk to Senator Daly about that and see if there is any mechanism we can put in place to ensure those meetings continue.
I thank all Senators for their excellent contributions. This is an area I am very much focused on and very passionate about. All Senators should feel free to contact me if they have any issues or suggestions to make on how we can provide even better or more meaningful engagement to our diaspora. My door is always open.