The incoming Irish government have just released their Programme for Government and National Recovery (subsequently re-titled ‘Government for National Recovery 2011-2016′).
It sets out a series of objectives for Ireland’s future, a quick summary of the most relevant to here as follows:
- Constitutional Convention to review the issue of giving citizens the right to vote at Irish embassies in the presidential election.
In Feb 2011 the Labour party proposed a 90-member constitutional convention and a new constitution to be drafted within 12 months, ready for enactment in 2016.
- Overhaul of the student visa system ensuring diaspora policies are strategically developed to best position the international education sector.
Looks like incentives and opportunity for students keen to study in Ireland.
- Modernisation of the Genealogical office and publication of the 1926 census to stimulate genealogy tourism. Exploration of philanthropic opportunities for the development of a national archives and genealogy quarter, providing easy access to archives etc.
Enhancing the cultural tourism sector and making it a more rewarding experience.
- Travel Tax to be abolished subject to a deal with airlines to restore lost routes.
Slightly cheaper fares if agreement reached with Aer Lingus and Ryanair.
- And a pet subject:
Merger of Bord na Mona and Coillte to create a new State company called BioEnergy Ireland to become a global leader in the commercialisation of next generation bio-energy technologies.
(Will be watching but hopefully this scuppers the threat posed by the outgoing government? i.e, the privatisation / sell-off of Ireland forests and native woodlands.)
All in all looks quite light on the diaspora front, so will be interesting to see how the new governments’ relationship with groups such as the Global Irish Network etc develop.
Frank Ryan, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland, commented in the Irish Times yesterday that “the importance of the Irish diaspora cannot be underestimated, many of whom are in key positions of influence in business and in Government.”
How much of this type of thinking exists in the new government will become apparent as they settle into the role.
The subject of emigrant voting rights is in the programme, but without any commitment and only focussed on presidential elections. The outgoing government invited a proposal from interested parties seeking a debate on Dail representation for Irish emigrants abroad, so looks like this is still needed if the issue is to be broadened.
Will follow up as more detail becomes available.