#dlharbour – Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) says it hopes to take part in a competition – operated by Failte Ireland – to create a national diaspora centre.
One of the key deliverables of the Harbour Company's master plan is the creation of a diaspora centre on the historic Carlisle Pier. Meanwhile, Fáilte Ireland – last week - issued a call for 'expressions of interest' in delivering a national diaspora centre.
According to the CEO of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company, Gerry Dunne, "The Fáilte Ireland call for expressions of interest in delivering a national diaspora centre comes at a good time for Dún Laoghaire. We are now at the point of having assembled all ideas for the centre, including a sustainability plan, so we are absolutely ready to take part in the competition to deliver a national diaspora centre.
"In the event that Dún Laoghaire is selected by Fáilte Ireland, we would be in a position to market the Dún Laoghaire diaspora centre as the 'national centre' and this would obviously assist in marketing at a global level."
Gerry Dunne was speaking at a lunchtime seminar today which was organised by DLHC on the issue of diaspora policy. The key issues arising from the seminar will be used to inform the Habour Company's submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs public consultation on diaspora policy, which runs until 23rd April.
"The Harbour Company is acutely aware of the role which the Harbour in Dún Laoghaire played in the lives of so many of our diaspora. Indeed, we were reminded of this at numerous points during last week's State visit by the President to England.
"We intend to lean on our history; our research on diaspora that has been undertaken to inform the planned diaspora centre; and the lessons from the Global Diaspora Forum - which we hosted last year in conjunction with the US State Department - to inform our submission to the Government's consultation on diaspora policy. In addition, the contributions at today's seminar will also help inform our submission," said Gerry Dunne.
Among those attending today's seminar in Dún Laoghaire was Labour Party MEP, Emer Costello, who has been a strong supporter of the planned diaspora centre at Dún Laoghaire. According to Ms Costello: "The past week – with the State visit to England – was a watershed in Anglo-Irish relations. There was a strong acknowledgement of our shared history, but there was also huge expectation about our future relationship. But, throughout all of last week, I could not help thinking that among those for whom this visit had the greatest import were the diaspora. Those women and men who left these shores in search of work. From the unskilled labourers and house maids to the highly-educated professionals.
"Their story is a story shared by Irish diaspora in the four corners of the world. Some excelled and exceeded levels of achievement that they might never had the opportunity of doing, had they not taken the boat. Others, were less fortunate. But ultimately, the Irish abroad – our diaspora – are strong and numerous, and want to be connected. We need them to be connected. It's a globalised society and they are one of our strongest assets if we're to be effective in business, education and development.
"It gives me great pleasure therefore to be here today, as part of this discussion on Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company's submission to the consultation by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on diaspora. From the day I was briefed about plans to create a diaspora centre on the harbour here, I have been a supporter. I believe the plans by the Harbour Company have capacity to deliver the connection to our diaspora abroad, as well as to tact as an education and leisure amenity for everyone: Irish people, new Irish and those from across the globe with an interest in diaspora," she added.