Ireland XO set to expand in the Shannon Region

Loughrea, Ireland, July 16th 2012 The Ireland Reaching Out programme is stepping up a gear and rolling out into the whole of the Shannon Region in the coming months. Following a successful pilot in East Galway, the Shannon Region will be the first region in Ireland to be mobilized under the initiative. With the support of Shannon Development, Clare County Council and LEADER, there is the potential for over 376 parishes to participate in the programme. In the last two months, Shannon Development has facilitated numerous meetings to put structures in place to enable community involvement.

Working with the LEADER groups across the Shannon region, the Ireland XO programme will engage with all interested parishes. In the coming weeks, John Joe Conwell, Parish Liaison Officer, Henry Healy, Community Activation Leader and members of the Ireland Reaching Out team will be holding information sessions in the Clare, Limerick, Offaly, and Tipperary county areas.

Paul Ryan, Shannon Development’s Tourism Marketing Manager, said: “The expansion of Ireland XO into the Shannon Region is the beginning of a new chapter in heritage tourism with the potential to deliver additional international visitors to the Shannon Region in 2013 and beyond. It will generate a renewed sense of community among the Shannon Region diaspora abroad and complements the work we are doing on ‘the Gathering’ which will bring over 325,000 additional visitors to Ireland in 2013.”

Anyone with an interest in their community, its history, tourism, business or genealogy, is encouraged to get involved and learn more about the project. 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 upcoming parish meetings or on getting involved, please contact info@irelandxo.com Tel: 091 842 013 or Paul Ryan, Shannon Development Email: ryanp@shannondevelopment.ie Tel: 086 2259728.

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Henry Healy joins Ireland Reaching Out

Loughrea, Galway, June 27th 2012, Henry Healy, community leader and high profile cousin of the current US President Barack Obama has joined Ireland Reaching Out, the national Diaspora initiative piloted in South-East Galway in 2011 and being rolled out nationally through 2012/2013. His new role as Ireland XO Community Activation Leader will involve visiting parishes and parish groups around Ireland introducing the Ireland XO organisation and objectives and working with them to reach out and engage with their Diaspora around the world.

Commenting on Henry’s appointment, Ireland Reaching Out Chairman and Founder Mike Feerick said that “Henry is the perfect person to work with parishes around the country on harnessing the benefits and potential of reaching out to their Diaspora. What the community in Moneygall have done is an inspiration to every local Irish community, yet every Irish parish has both high and low profile connections around the world who are very interested in learning more about and becoming involved in the parishes of their ancestors. Henry Healy stated that “I am truly delighted to become part of this innovative and highly energetic organisation. I believe in the power of the Diaspora and the powerful and positive contribution it can make over the long term to Irish people, at home and abroad. I am looking forward to working with parishes across Ireland through the coming year”

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 organisations. 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. Henry Healy will be joining Ireland XO Parish Liaison Officer John Joe Conwell at promotional Gathering 2013 events in Castlebar, Co Mayo, Rathkeale, Co Limerick, and Thurles & Nenagh, Co Tipperary in coming weeks.

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