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The Launch of the Ireland Reaching Out Diaspora Project by An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny, TD

~ Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ireland XO project is based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for Irish-Americans and their global counterparts to come to Ireland to trace their roots, we go the other way. Working through voluntary effort at a townland, village and parish level, we identify who left, and trace them and their descendants worldwide, proactively engaging with them and inviting them to become part of an extended “virtual” community with their place of origin.

In this way, the entire Irish Diaspora of 70 million can be systematically reunified online and invited back to engage with their ancestral parish for the benefit of all. The project held an inaugural “Week of Welcomes” in June 2011, inviting back members of the Irish Diaspora from the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand to their parishes of origin in South-East Galway, mobilising over 500 community volunteers in the process.

The initiative has been praised for its innovative use of technology, community volunteerism, and professional organisation, and received substantial coverage in national and international press including RTE, BBC and the New York Times. The project now has over 200 parishes involved nationwide. The Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) project won the special award at the national for “Pride of Place” Awards in Nov 2011 and in February 2012, was voted the “Best Community” initiative nationally by the Local Authorities Members Awards (LAMA).

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