Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

What should be prioritised by Ireland’s first diaspora minister?

Voting rights for Irish abroad? US immigration reform? Support for returning emigrants? Have your say.

Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 11:57


Former minister for arts Jimmy Deenihan was appointed the country’s first ever Minister of State for the Diaspora in the Cabinet reshuffle on Friday. It is a huge boost for the Irish abroad, marking the first significant official gesture towards political representation for Irish people living outside the country.

So what will be the new junior minister’s brief?

Taoiseach Enda Kenny indicated over the weekend that one of Mr Deenihan’s responsibilities will be to examine whether Irish citizens living abroad should be allowed to vote in presidential elections.

Fianna Fáil spokesman for the diaspora Senator Mark Daly said his main priority should be immigration reform for the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US, and the fast-tracking of work visas to the US for Irish people. He also called over the weekend for more resources to provide enhanced support services to the older Irish community in the UK.

The National Youth Council of Ireland said they looked forward to working with Mr Deenihan on improving supports for young emigrants abroad, and finding ways to facilitate their return to Ireland.

Have your say: As an Irish person living abroad, what would you like to see prioritised by the new ministry? Let us know in the comments section below.