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IrishCentral.com has announced their “Digital Influencers Top 40″ list. The list celebrates “40 of the most innovative, talented and hard-working Irish-born and Irish-American individuals leading the way in advertising, media, marketing, tech, e-commerce and a range of other entrepreneurial ventures and services”.
You can see the entire list here – I’m happy to say I’m included on it.
The OECD is the latest international body to weigh in on Ireland’s disenfranchisement of its expats. In their latest economic survey, the organisation says that Ireland is out of step with the rest of Europe, and both citizens and the nation are missing out:
One aspect with significant room for improvement concerns emigrant’s political representation and right to vote in Irish elections. Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe not to offer some form of suffrage to its citizens who live abroad (Honohan, 2011). The vast majority of countries have electoral systems allowing emigrants to participate in some ways in elections. Voting can allow states to build and retain highly productive connections with diaspora groups (Collier and Vathi, 2007). Political participation is positively associated with well-being (Frey et al., 2008 and Blais and Gelineau, 2007). Thus, civil and political engagement is one of the building blocks of the OECD’s Better Life index. Allowing for the participating of Irish emigrants in domestic electoral process would reinforce their attachment to Ireland, would bolster the linkages that Ireland has been successfully building over the years and would make a positive contribution to emigrant’s well-being.
A researcher in Adelaide, Australia writes of her eagerness to reach anyone born in Ireland or Northern Ireland who has lived in Australia and since departed. She would be grateful for responses to a short survey investigating aspects of the immigrant experience in Australia as outlined below:
This study is being undertaken to gather data from persons who have travelled from Ireland/Northern Ireland to Australia on a long-term temporary or permanent visa and departed from Australia again. The data will be used to investigate the impact of immigration policy and social media and technology on the migration experience. Impact is measured in terms of return visits to Ireland, migrants’ perceptions of connectedness to ‘home’ and the settling in process with regard to family, social networks and working life. Pre-migration sources of information about Australia and measuring expectations against the reality of migration are also covered.
It takes around 10 minutes to complete and you have the option of participating in a personal interview conducted by phone or in person. If you can help in this regard, please leave your details in the space provided.
To complete the survey, visit the survey website.
The survey has Human Research Ethics Approval (HREC Approval No: H-2014-234).
A classic work about emigration has been revised and reissued in a twenty-fifth anniversary edition. “Models for Movers: Irish Women’s Emigration to America”, by Dr Íde B. O’Carroll, will be launched by UCD Professor Margaret Kelleher on Wednesday, 15 July 2015 at 6 pm at in the Long Room Hub at Trinity College in Dublin. The event will be hosted by Dr Catherine Lawless of the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies at TCD; the Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan, will make opening remarks.
The publishers’ website describes the book:
Models for Movers: Irish Women’s Emigration to America is a unique collection of Irish women’s oral histories spanning three waves of twentieth-century emigration to America in the 1920s, 1950s, 1980s. The author provides a critical gender analysis of Irish society during the three migration waves to illustrate conditions for women prior to departure. The oral histories detail how each woman created an independent life for herself in America, often in the face of multiple challenges there. As active agents, often supporting one another to leave, these Irish women are role models because they inspire us to have the courage to act. The women’s voices also speak to and against the regulated silences surrounding both emigration and the reality of Irish women’s lives. Finally, they provide a rich multigenerational tapestry of experience into which women leaving Ireland today, often for places other than America, can weave their stories.•This book used an oral history approach to documenting Irish emigration history – an approach considered “ground-breaking” at the time• This revised twenty-fifth anniversary edition comes at a time of renewed global Irish migration•The Models’ project materials formed the basis of the first holding on Irish women at the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University, the premier repository on the History of Women in America – the O’Carroll Collection.
Author Dr Íde B. O’Carroll is an Irish-born social researcher and writer who divides her time between Amherst, MA and Lismore, Waterford; she is also a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House.
The first-ever Global Irish Civic Forum will take place in Dublin Castle this week, with over 175 delegates from 17 countries and representing more than 140 organisations in attendance. Those attending include representatives of more than 140 organisation assisting vulnerable emigrants, supporting Irish culture abroad, networking Irish business people, and campaigning on issues affecting emigrants.
One issue that will be sure to be on the minds of many participants will be that of voting rights for emigrants. Following last month’s phenomenal “#hometovote” movement, which saw a large and unprecedented number of emigrants returning home to vote, it is likely that many of the delegates will be eager to talk about new ways of engagement in an Ireland to which many are likely to return.
Panel discussions will focus on such issues as identity and heritage, assistance on returning to Ireland, challenges facing new emigrants, supporting the mental well-being of emigrants, and more. The Forum will no doubt be well-covered on social media, and the suggested hashtag on Twitter is #diaspora15.
Ahead of the event, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said,
“I am very much looking forward to engaging with the participants attending the Global Irish Civic Forum. The event is particularly timely as we are starting to see the tide of emigration turning in response to steady economic recovery. Our focus is now shifting to facilitating those emigrants abroad who wish to return.
“The forum is also a unique opportunity to thank the many organisations working throughout the world to support our emigrants in making new lives far from home.”
Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan stated:
“I look forward to lively and engaging discussions with representatives of groups working with our emigrants abroad over the course of the Global Irish Civic Forum. Many of the groups represented are recipients of funding under the Emigrant Support Programme which has demonstrated the Government’s support and commitment to global Irish communities since 2004.”
Here is the programme outline:
Wednesday 3 June
- Welcome Address by Minister for Diaspora Affairs Jimmy Deenihan T.D.
- Panel Discussion on challenges facing new Irish emigrants
- Panel Discussion on Irish Identity and Heritage
- Panel Discussion on reaching out to Irish citizens abroad
- Panel Discussion on supporting the mental wellbeing of Irish emigrants
- Reception hosted by President & Mrs. Higgins
Thursday 4 June
- Address by Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Charles Flanagan T.D.
- Panel Discussion on assisting emigrants returning to Ireland
- ‘Diaspora Engagement – Past, Present and Future – How and Why Diaspora
- Matters’, Kingsley Aikins
- Presentation by John Concannon, Director of the Ireland 2016 Project Team
- Afternoon Workshops for Irish community organisations: fundraising,
- communication and governance
- Closing Remarks by Minister for Diaspora Affairs Jimmy Deenihan T.D.
Every St Patrick’s Day, I am reminded of my favourite book, The Hard Road to Klondike, and Micheál MacGowan’s poignant story of St Patrick’s Day in All Gold Creek in the Yukon. In case you’re not familiar with the book, it’s the translation from Irish of the oral memoir of Donegal native Micheál MacGowan’s adventures in Montana and the Alaskan Gold Rush. It’s wonderful.
I love the story of this impromptu St Patrick’s Day parade (probably Alaska’s first!), not least because it’s true. MacGowan’s tale captures the camaraderie, fun and poignancy of a good St Patrick’s Day celebration far from home. The story opens early on St Patrick’s morning with our hero, high in the hills, five miles from the nearest village, gathering a can of snow to melt for water for his breakfast.
As I stood there, suddenly I thought I heard pipe-music in the distance. At first I thought it was a dream but in a short while I heard it again. I straightened up then so as to hear it better but as luck had it, didn’t the piper stop playing as soon as I was in a position to listen properly. It was some time before he started up again but when he did he seemed to be closer and the music was clearer; and wasn’t the tune he was playing ‘St. Patrick’s Day’! I’d say that by then the piper was three or four miles away up in the hills behind us; there, then, was I, three thousand miles from home but, in the time it would take you to clap your hands, I fancied I was back again among my own people in Cloghaneely. My heart leaped up with so much joy that I was sure it was going to jump out of my breast altogether.
I ran back into the cabin and told my friends what was happening. They came out and when they heard the music, they were so overjoyed that one of them rushed around with the news to all the Irishmen in the neighbouring cabins. They too got up and when they also heard the pipe-music coming towards them they nearly went out of their minds. They went roaring and shouting around the place so much that you could hear the echoes coming back out of the mountains and valleys surrounding us. Everyone waited there until we felt the piper was coming near to us and then we all went out to meet him. Nobody was fully clothed and half of us hadn’t eaten at all but our blood was hot and despite the frost none of us felt the cold a bit! When we met him, we carried him shoulder-high for a good part of the way back. He was brought into our cabin and neither food nor drink was spared on him. And it was still early in the day.
When everyone was ready, he tuned his pipes and off we went four abreast after him like soldiers in full marching order. There wasn’t an Irish tune that we had ever heard that he didn’t play on the way down the valley. Crowds of people from other countries were working away on the side of the hill and they didn’t know from Adam what on earth was up with us marching off like that behind the piper. They thought we were off our heads altogether but we made it known to them that it was our very own day—the blessed feast-day of St. Patrick. On we marched until we came to the hotels and we went into the first big one that we met. Without exaggeration, I’d say that there were up to six hundred men there before us—men from all parts of the world. We were thirsty after the march and, though we hadn’t a bit of shamrock between us, we thought it no harm to keep up the old custom and to wet it as well as we were able.
We had a couple of drinks each and, as we relaxed, I stood up and asked the piper to tune up his pipes and play us ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ from one end of the house to the other. The word was hardly out of my mouth before he was on his feet…
The men drown the shamrock exuberantly at the town’s hotels, their day only briefly disrupted by the violent dispatch of an Orangeman who didn’t appreciate the celebrations. (We’ll skip that bit.)
As night fell, we all gathered ourselves together again and set off up the hill along the way we had come until we reached our own cabins again. We were tired out and it wasn’t hard to make our beds that night. The piper spent the night with us and next morning he bade us farewell and went off to the back of the mountain where himself and two friends of his were working.
A loyal good-natured Irishman, like thousands of others of his race, he left his bones stretched under frost and snow, far from his people, out in the backwoods, where none of his own kith would ever come to say a prayer for his soul. We heard that he had been killed in one of the shafts shortly after he had come to us to keep the Feast of St. Patrick with his music in All Gold Creek.
A bit of a sad ending there, but MacGowan himself had a much happier one. He went home to Donegal in 1901, travelling first class with the fortunes he brought from the Gold Rush. “I had seen enough of modern times in America; and it was like a healing balm to find myself under the old rafters again.” He decided to stay in Donegal, fell in love, married, and raised a family – and MacGowan, one of Ireland’s greatest emigrant adventurers, declared he would rather see one of his eleven children “gathering rags” than heading for America.
Happy St Patrick’s Day – I hope you’re parading where ever you are!
- You can read a full book review I wrote several years ago over at the Emigrant.ie website.
- I also wrote the entry on Michael MacGowan in Ireland and the Americas.
- You should probably buy the book.