March 14th 2013 - Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO), the National “Reverse Genealogy” Programme launched by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, on 14th March 2012, announced today that it now has a volunteer network across all 32 counties of Ireland. The volunteer programme recently signed up its 2,000th volunteer and is now present and active in over in 800 parishes north and south.
Ireland XO provides an invaluable service to the development of local communities by welcoming returning members of the local parish Diaspora to their area, showing them where their people came from, and introducing them where possible to living relatives. Volunteers trained in local history and heritage also identify those who left the area, tracing descendants of local emigrants, building up a “virtual” parish community worldwide.
Last year, An Taoiseach stated that “From its beginnings as a pilot project in South East Galway, Ireland Reaching Out has shown how ‘reverse genealogy’ can engage the diaspora to bring real social and economic benefits down to parish level”.
Commenting on this announcement, in advance of the upcoming 2013 St Patrick's Day celebrations, An Taoiseach stated that: "I am pleased to congratulate the Ireland XO organisation and its volunteers on achieving such a big milestone within a year of their national launch. The expansion of the programme is evidence that it is offering the Irish Diaspora a chance to engage in a way that is really valuable to them. Like the Gathering 2013 initiative, Ireland XO is a great opportunity to reach out to the Irish Diaspora around the world, allow them to reconnect with their heritage and tap into the potential it represents for local communities around Ireland."
Ireland Reaching Out founder and Chairman Mike Feerick stated that “achieving national coverage of Ireland XO is a magnificent milestone for the programme, and while we still have a distance to go to have coverage in every single parish in Ireland, credit must go to the Ireland XO HQ team, the programme’s sponsors, and its’ thousands of volunteers in parishes across Ireland to have made such rapid progress in so short a space of time”.
END IRELAND REACHING OUT PROGRAMME A programme for the economic, social and cultural development of the Irish people
Ireland Reaching Out, Michael Cusack House, Dunkellin Street, Loughrea, Co. Galway, Tel: +353 (0)91 842013
Contact: Paula Kennedy, Press Officer, Tel: +353 (0)91 842013 / 086-069-5152
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About the Ireland Reaching Out Programme Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) is a multi-award-winning national Irish government funded programme based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for Irish-Americans and their global counterparts to come back to Ireland to trace their roots, we go the other way. Working through voluntary effort at a townland and parish level, local Irish communities identify who left, tracing them and their descendants worldwide 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. The Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) programme won the special award at the national “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). The project was founded in South-East Galway by tech entrepreneur Mike Feerick in 2009 and has been funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Heritage Council, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ireland Funds, Galway County Council, Galway Rural Development (GRD), and Irish-American sources. Sponsors include Google, Guinness, An Post, and the National Library. In Dec 2011, the project launched a global partnership with the GAA, agreeing to link newly identified members of the Irish Diaspora to the network of nearly 500 GAA clubs worldwide. Well-known broadcasters and economists David McWilliams and George Lee have been prominent supports of Ireland XO pointing out the extraordinary economic potential of the programme, which rises well beyond the immediate and obvious tourism opportunity. The Ireland Reaching Out programme aims to connect over million people through the programme by the end of 2013. The Ireland XO is working in close partnership with the Gathering 2013 initiative which is preparing to invite an additional 340,000 visitors to Ireland through the end of 2013, and also with local county council and LEADER groups. Shannon Development, the economic development agency for the Mid-West is leading the adoption of Ireland XO in 376 parishes in its area with the assistance of local authority and LEADER organizations, as is the Western Development Commission (WDC) with approx. 200 parishes. Any Parishes across Ireland who are not yet involved in Ireland XO or the Gathering 2013 initiative are encouraged to contact the Ireland XO Headquarters in Loughrea, Co Galway. Anyone with an interest in their community, its history, tourism, business or genealogy, is encouraged to get involved and learn more about the programme. While Ireland XO parish volunteers are reaching out around the world, the website www.irelandxo.com provides a landing point in Ireland for people abroad who have some detail about where their emigrant ancestors hail from in Ireland. By joining any parish community online, they can seek direct genealogical research assistance from local people in the area who also volunteer to meet them on their return.
For further information on getting involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 091 842 013 Email: email@example.com Tel: +353 (0) 86 069 5152
Ireland XO in the Press 2011/2012 RTE George Lee – The Business – The Irish Diaspora New York Times: In tough times; the Irish call their Diaspora RTE Nationwide: The Obama Visit – Linking to the Diaspora Irish-American Magazine; Bring them all Back Home