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Connecting with the Diaspora and Promoting Economic Development: Two Sides of the Same Coin in 21st Century Ireland?

Création de liens avec la diaspora et promotion du développement économique : deux faces d’une même réalité de l’Irlande au xxie siècle ?
Julien Guillaumond

Résumés

Au début du xxie siècle, la République d’Irlande a fait le choix d’une stratégie diasporique pour encourager son développement économique. L’ensemble des actions entreprises, de la publication du rapport du Task Force on the Irish Abroad jusqu’aux initiatives découlant du Global Economic Forum, constitue les différentes pièces d’une stratégie visant à former des liens étroits avec la diaspora irlandaise et à la mobiliser. Depuis la crise financière de 2008, les autorités irlandaises se sont ainsi concentrées sur la manière de tirer parti du potentiel de cette diaspora irlandaise pour stimuler le développement économique. Les récentes publications officielles des gouvernements irlandais successifs consacrées au commerce et aux investissements internationaux, ainsi qu’à la stratégie diasporique pour une « Global Ireland », montrent le rôle de l’État irlandais et sa volonté de s’engager dans une telle voie. À partir d’une étude de publications officielles, cet article tente de montrer que l’état irlandais a récemment essayé de développer et d’entretenir une connexion spéciale avec sa diaspora, en redéfinissant ses contours pour promouvoir son développement économique et pour se repositionner afin de devenir une île au centre du monde.

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  • 1 Kevin Kenny, Diaspora. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 96. In it (...)
  • 2 John Urry, Mobilities, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007, 3.
  • 3 Both temporary migration and ‘circular’ migration (individuals who periodically move back and fort (...)
  • 4 Stephen Castles, Hein de Haas and Mark J. Miller, The Age of Migration. International Population M (...)
  • 5 The Economist, “The Magic of Diasporas”, 19 November 2011.
  • 6 Id.
  • 7 Dana Diminescu, “The Connected Migrant: An Epistemological Manifesto”, Social Science Information, (...)
  • 8 Michele Vanore, “Diasporas as Catalysts for Development”, in Kurzdossiers, Bundeszentrale für Poli (...)

1In recent decades, the world has experienced an upsurge in global migration in absolute numbers.1 In this century characterized by an intense mobility up until the pandemic due to COVID-19, it seemed as if the entire world was on the move,2 from students to business people, to retired people, to asylum seekers and refugees. Alongside goods and capital moving across the globe, people were also moving from one place to another as they were encouraged by cheap travel or residing abroad for professional or personal reasons, for a time or permanently,3 as part of the world’s globalized economy. Though such international population movements were not new in historical terms, migration has gained much political momentum,4 even taking centre-stage in many political and economic debates. If in the early years of the 21st century, in-migration was not always considered positively, the rest of the decade, under the aegis of international organizations, saw countries expressing a renewed interest in their diasporas and the advantages to be gained from engaging and connecting with them. Such a perspective was identified by the Economist in 2011 in an editorial on the Magic of diasporas which emphasized their growing economic importance for the countries of origin.5 Networks of “kinship and language”, argued the Economist, “made it easier to do business across borders”6 and consequently helped with economic development in the home countries. This mobility of people and goods as well as the creation of these networks were made easier by information and communication technologies which were instrumental in transforming the traditional view of emigration, turning people into connected migrants, allowing them to be “both here and there”, 7 and therefore, to some extent, no longer distanced from families, friends and countries of origin. This new perspective on transnational migrants – people maintaining ties with both countries of origin and residence, and consequently taking part in both societies – gradually saw them as “the best positioned to act as vectors of development given their familiarity and engagement with multiple societies”.8 In that respect, migrants were no longer definitively lost to their home country as they used to be.

  • 9 Mary Robinson, “Cherishing the Irish Diaspora” Address to Houses of the Oireachtas on a Matter of (...)

2President of Ireland Mary Robinson had somewhat expressed this late conception of migration in her Cherishing the Irish Diaspora speech in 1995 when she stressed how numerous the Irish diaspora was across the globe, and how important its achievements were. In that sense, she called for a reset of relationships between Ireland and the Irish abroad. “After all”, she said, “emigration is not just a chronicle of sorrow and regret. It is also a powerful story of contribution and adaptation. In fact, […] this great narrative of dispossession and belonging, which so often had its origins in sorrow and leave-taking, has become – with a certain amount of historic irony – one of the treasures of our society”.9 This chapter considers to what extent the Irish diaspora could be viewed as a valuable asset, and how it has increasingly been seen as serving Irish needs. After reviewing the current literature on States’ economic policies and their strategies towards their diasporas, the present article will turn to Ireland’s strategy and examine its main policy documents from the late 1990s to 2020.

Diasporas, Economic Development and State Engagement

  • 10 Kathleen Newland and Sonia Plaza, “What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development”, Migrati (...)
  • 11 K. Newland and S. Plaza, “What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development”, op. cit., 1. The (...)
  • 12 Ibidem, 4.
  • 13 Ibid., 1.
  • 14 Ibid., 5.
  • 15 Dany Bahar, “Diasporas and Economic Development: A Review of the Evidence and Policy”, op. cit., 6

3The impacts of diasporas on the economic development of the countries of origin have been widely researched, and remain the subject of numerous publications to date. Newland and Plaza have reviewed evidence, and suggest that this economic impact of diasporas could be felt in three specific areas: trade, investment, and on the transfer of skills and knowledge.10 They argue that strong correlations exist between the presence of a diaspora and the trade ties to that diaspora’s country of origin. Consequently, a diaspora could be said to facilitate trade connections between producers and consumers, but also introduce products to new markets in the destination countries.11 The impact of diasporas on economic development can also be felt through direct and indirect investments in various economic sectors in their countries of origin,12 encouraging tourism for instance, but also “boosting investor confidence in (and knowledge of) emerging and undeveloped markets”.13 Diaspora networks can also be said to influence global investment by providing easier access to information, reducing transaction and information costs,14 acting as facilitators between potential investors and partners,15 reducing risks and acknowledging the importance of formal and informal rules in different intercultural contexts.

  • 16 Such dimension works on a two-way basis through the creation of networks (networks spring from dia (...)
  • 17 Dany Bahar, “Diasporas and Economic Development: A Review of the Evidence and Policy”, op. cit. 20 (...)
  • 18 Bahar considers a wider perspective when he refers to “diffusion of skills, technologies and knowl (...)

4Of course, such diaspora networks, be they formal or informal,16 cannot be separated from larger institutional initiatives led by ministries of diaspora affairs, Embassy networks or Chambers of Commerce, all engaging with the country’s emigrants.17 Diasporas can also promote economic development with the transfer of skills, technologies and knowledge through networks alone, or with members of the diaspora returning home.18 As Newland and Plaza wrote, diasporas

  • 19 K. Newland and S. Plaza, “What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development”, op. cit., 1. For (...)

often gain valuable skills, experiences, and contacts abroad that they can “transfer” back to their country of origin by seeding businesses and entrepreneurship, training and mentoring native workers, and boosting emerging industries.19

5Such transfer of skills could also be encouraged through academic exchanges and conferences, together with various training programmes.

  • 20 K. Newland and S. Plaza, “What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development”, op. cit., 8.
  • 21 Ibidem, 8.
  • 22 As Valore writes, “When development is defined exclusively on GDP growth, a macro-level indicator, (...)

6Strong and positive correlations exist between diaspora engagement and economic development. However, within a macro-level perspective, it remains very difficult to have clear statistics or specific data. Moreover, there is wide uncertainty since correlations are often made post facto.20 Another limitation, for instance, rests on how difficult it can be to quantify the impact of skills and knowledge transfers, especially in the short term.21 Furthermore, such correlations between economic development and diaspora engagement should not mask the importance of broader conceptions of human development as highlighted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its yearly reports, as well as the broader impacts of diasporas on societal changes.22

  • 23 Alan Gamlen, “The Emigration State and the Modern Geopolitical Imagination”, Political Geography, (...)

7Engaging with and/or mobilizing a country’s diaspora suggests a series of initiatives as part of large state-led strategies. Alan Gamlen argued that states have become “emigration state[s]” when they decide to set up specific mechanisms, initiate programmes and establish institutions to engage with their diasporas, mobilize their resources and often develop networks. These “diaspora mechanisms”23 which states use to relate to their diasporas can act in two non-mutually exclusive ways:

  • 24 Ibidem, 851.

‘Diaspora building’ mechanism, which cultivates or formally recognizes non-residents as members of a diasporic community, and ‘diaspora integration’ mechanisms, which project various membership privileges and responsibilities onto various extra-territorial groups. Through these mechanisms, sending states influence the identities and activities of different groups of emigrants and their descendants, constituting them as members of a ‘diaspora’.24

  • 25 Ibid., 842.
  • 26 Gamlen found that the Republic of Ireland had been active in cultivating its diaspora, including i (...)
  • 27 A. Gamlen, “The Emigration State and the Modern Geopolitical Imagination”, op. cit., 851.

8These mechanisms, Gamlen argued, “protrude beyond [the borders of states] and operate on a transnational scale within global politics”.25 In the Republic of Ireland, both mechanisms to relate with the diaspora apply, though differently26 as will be shown with some examples below. Such an approach on diaspora mechanisms – though relevant because it allows cross-country comparisons – does not offer a full view, ex-ante, of a state’s strategy towards its diaspora. Official policy documents can fill that void as they often reveal how an “emigration state” which dedicates “a portion of the state apparatus to it [emigration]27 considers its diaspora. How then does the Republic of Ireland relate to its diaspora, and to what extent does it see it as a vector of economic development?

A Diaspora Turn: from the ‘Irish abroad’ to the ‘Global Irish’, from the Periphery to the Centre

  • 28 Johanne Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, i (...)
  • 29 For more information and a brief historical overview, see Irial Glynn, Tomás Kelly and Piaras Mac (...)
  • 30 Breda Gray, “Towards the Neo-Institutionalization of Irish State-Diaspora Relations in the Twenty- (...)

9Since the late 1990s, there has been a world-wide trend seeing the development of state infrastructures and governance for diaspora engagement.28 The Ireland and the Irish Abroad report in 2002 marked such a turn in the Republic of Ireland when the State opted to engage and connect with its diaspora, in sharp contrast with previous decades when it showed little interest in supporting the Irish diaspora.29 The “maintenance of relations with emigrants and the diaspora” in the 20th century, Gray wrote, “was left largely to the Catholic Church”30 for the welfare and morality of all Irish emigrants.

  • 31 Focusing on the Irish in Britain, K. Howard has argued that the Irish State’s attitude and engagem (...)
  • 32 See Devlin Trew for a presentation of initiatives in Northern Ireland to connect with the Northern (...)
  • 33 The Good Friday Agreement (also known as the Belfast Agreement) was signed on 10th April 1998 betw (...)
  • 34 “A key thread running through this report has been a conviction that the Irish Abroad are an integ (...)
  • 35 K. Howard, “Recycled Connections: The Irish State and its Diaspora”, in K. Hayward and M. MacCarth (...)
  • 36 Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants, Ireland and the Irish Abroad, op. cit., 3, 14.
  • 37 Ibidem, 3.
  • 38 K. Howard, “Recycled Connections: The Irish State and its Diaspora”, in K. Hayward and M. MacCarth (...)
  • 39 Ibidem, 66.

10If the Irish in Britain had already gained some specific attention by the second half of the 20th century31, the report suggested a broader vision of the Irish and initiated a new strategy for the Irish diaspora. Ireland and the Irish Abroad was the first policy document of the 21st century which initiated a new era of state-diaspora engagement in the Republic of Ireland.32 In the wake of constitutional changes following the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent changes in the definition of the Irish nation,33 the Irish government released a report entitled Ireland and the Irish Abroad – Report of the Task Force on Policy regarding Emigrants published in 2002 which introduced a new policy approach recognizing the existence of people of Irish descent and the Irish abroad as part of the Irish nation.34 Though the focus of the report was entirely on the impact of emigration on the emigrants themselves, and on the difficulties they faced in their sites of settlement, its emphasis was transnational.35 It offered a particular definition of the Irish abroad and suggested, as part of that “strategic and integrated approach” to turn towards those “who lead successful and fulfilling lives in their adopted countries”36 and mobilize them. The title of the document itself introduced a commitment to connect with the diaspora, to recognize it. The Irish abroad consisted of Irish-born people who had emigrated together with people of Irish descent.37 The report referred to those two types of emigrants and what could be done to help them: pre-departure aid/support as well as helping “involuntary emigration”, those who find themselves marginalized when abroad. The turnaround in diaspora policy, initiated by the Report, led to what Howard has termed the “institutionalization of a transnational Irish community” and the implementation of a logic of deterritorialization.38 Such initiatives, he argued, led to “a conceptual redefinition of the external Irish from emigrants to transnational diasporans”.39

  • 40 Johanne Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, i (...)
  • 41 Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants, Ireland and the Irish Abroad, op. cit., 3. It should not (...)
  • 42 Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants, Ireland and the Irish Abroad, op. cit., 8.

11This Report suggested and recommended setting up specific state agencies and initiatives. In that sense, it helped the establishment of the Irish Abroad Unit in 2004 within the Department of Foreign Affairs, and soon after, the launch of the Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) to provide funding for emigrant welfare services, and cultural and sporting activities for organizations assisting emigrants.40 Though remittances were considered as an invaluable asset and as a way “to give something back to [the] native country”,41 the report suggested that knowledge, skills, and time spent abroad could also be strong assets for the nation, as well as experience. Access to news and information about Ireland was deemed essential, with the Internet as a means to keep in touch with people abroad.42 The focus point was summarized in the following quote highlighting a core idea of that new strategy:

  • 43 Ibidem, 14.

The Task Force recognized that many Irish people living abroad lead successful and fulfilling lives in their adopted countries. They have different needs, which the Task Force has sought to address, and they constitute a potential resource which can be harnessed to support less fortunate Irish emigrants, as well as their homeland and their host country.43

  • 44 K. Howard, “Recycled Connections: The Irish State and its Diaspora”, in K. Hayward and M. MacCarth (...)

12In that sense, Ireland and the Irish Abroad offered a new definition of emigration at a time of economic prosperity, and symbolized a switch from emigrants to diasporans44 while introducing a new role for them.

The 2008 economic crisis as a strong stimulus for change

  • 45 J. Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, in J. (...)
  • 46 B. Gray, “Towards the Neo-Institutionalization of Irish State-Diaspora Relations in the Twenty-Fir (...)
  • 47 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFTA), Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, Dublin, D (...)
  • 48 Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., April 2009, quoted in Delphine Ancien, Mark (...)
  • 49 See for instance Anne Groutel, « Diaspora irlandaise et entrepreneuriat de croissance : vers un dé (...)

13That perspective on the Irish abroad evolved after the economic downturn of 2008 towards an engagement with the diaspora, away from a focus “on emigrant welfare [and] towards strategic engagement of the diaspora for economic rescue”45 of the State. The economic downturn in 2008 which brought a return of emigration became the “stimulus for state action”,46 introducing economic policy initiatives such as the Global Irish Economic Forum (2009) and the Global Irish Network (2010) designed to engage and mobilize the diaspora to help with and contribute to Ireland’s economic recovery.47 In his speech to the Global Irish Network in 2009, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, called for a more “strategic relationship which will bring benefits both to Ireland and to our global community and which has a more developed economic focus”.48 Such a strategy which consists in using the diaspora’s business networks through the forums, including ConnectIreland, together with state agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, showed how the Irish state engaged with its diaspora to promote its economic strategy through targeted investments.49

  • 50 Johanne Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, i (...)
  • 51 J. Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, in J.  (...)

14The purpose of such initiatives was to strengthen Ireland’s reputation abroad, develop global business, technology and trade relations; develop the financial sector; tackle youth unemployment and job creation; and engage with alumni of Irish third level institutions and move towards the internationalization of education and research.50 Those elements, in line with a focus on economic development, have become central with successive policy documents published by the Irish State. Moreover, the focus of the Global Irish Economic Forum events and activities was aimed at developing connections with both the kin diaspora (Irish nationals/descendants) and the affinity diaspora (non-nationals with an interest in Ireland).51

  • 52 Ibidem, 33.
  • 53 A. Gamlen, ‘The Emigration State and the Modern Geopolitical Imagination, op. cit.
  • 54 J. Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, op. ci (...)
  • 55 Author’s emphasis.

15The appointment of a first Minister of state for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan, in July 2014, together with the appointment to the Seanad in June 2016 of a first overseas senator representing the diaspora52 could be said to represent two initiatives towards diaspora integration according to Gamlen’s typology.53 Those two milestones54 in diaspora relations culminated in the publication of a report in March 2015, Global Irish, which introduced a new perspective on Ireland’s relations with its diaspora and a renewed engagement with it. Such a positioning was visible in the authorship of that new report. While Ireland and the Irish Abroad had been commissioned by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the 2015 publication was published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Two strong dimensions of the State, diplomacy and business, joined forces, which showed how the economic policies of the Irish State had become strongly connected with its diaspora strategy.55

Towards an extended diaspora

  • 56 In the foreword to the report, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated that previous initiatives and work with (...)
  • 57 DFTA, Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, Dublin: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 20 (...)

16Global Irish introduced a strong network component and offered a re-definition of the Irish diaspora to promote Irish economic development.56 The title was in itself quite interesting as it gave a new perspective to this Irish diaspora, and a particular global reach, very much in line with the overall theme of the document. After reviewing previous policies and initiatives, the report offered a definition of the Irish diaspora which then comprised emigrants from Ireland and their descendants, and those with a tangible connection to Ireland.57 Clearly, there was a wider definition of the Irish diaspora, an extension of it, insisting, as the quote suggested, on a family connection through children. Further down, the document gave a clearer idea of the number of people comprising the diaspora and attempts to establish a breakdown by country of destination or residence (US, Britain, Canada, etc.). This document thus intended to be a comprehensive review of who the diaspora was and to highlight its diversity. The “diaspora is diverse” as it was pointed out in the document.

  • 58 Ibidem, 17.

The Irish diaspora comprises people of different interests, different beliefs, different reasons for being outside Ireland and holding different views of both Ireland and their host countries. It is young people and old people; those who have found success abroad and those who have not; those who have left Ireland by choice and those who left by compulsion; and those who were not born in Ireland but are descended from those who did. In addition, we also now include a growing number of people who have spent time living, studying and working in Ireland and then returned home to their home countries, often with Irish born children.58

  • 59 Mark Boyle and Adrian Kavanagh, “The Irish Government’s Diaspora Strategy: Towards a Care Agenda”, (...)

17As Boyle and Kavanagh argued “the notion of ‘Global Irish’ invokes a powerful national imaginary: Ireland is to be visualized and rationalized, not as a small island of six million people located at the edge of Europe, but as a globally networked community of six million people in Ireland plus over one million Irish born, nearly three million Irish citizens and as many as 70 million people of Irish descent living overseas in key business centres including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, continental Europe, the Emirates and the Asia Pacific region”.59

  • 60 DFTA, Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, op. cit., 53.
  • 61 Ibid., 17. Interestingly, the focus was on both North and South regarding the question of emigrati (...)
  • 62 DFTA, Global Irish, op. cit., 4.
  • 63 Ibid., 4.

18Furthermore, there was a shift towards other diasporas and a focus on affinity or other forms of connections no longer based on common ancestry or origins, but on new diaspora communities present in Ireland and connected with their countries of origin (one example mentioned was the Polish community).60 The idea remains to connect with the children and the children’s children, etc.61 In that sense, that is significant because it comes at the same time as the notion of economic reputation and Ireland’s new international repositioning. The final dimension of the 2015 strategy was to recognize the diaspora officially, through presidential awards, distinctions, as well as the Certificate of Irish Heritage, also using culture and sports to promote further links with Ireland. “Ireland has a unique and important relationship with its diaspora that must be nurtured and developed”, the document stated.62 The policy of the Irish government on the diaspora aims at defining the Government’s role “in driving and fostering diaspora engagement” in a series of ways.63

  • 64 Ibid., 20.
  • 65 Ibid., 31.

19The underlying idea is, it seems, to promote Ireland’s soft power, Ireland’s reach and reputation, mobilizing new people, building connections, and instilling a sense of belonging. The stress was also on the use of new technologies to communicate better.64 Global Irish takes stock of the information technology dimension when it suggests that communication has evolved rapidly, social media and the “communication revolution”, and those elements should be considered when engaging with the diaspora. In a global Ireland, there was a need for an online strategy using social media to connect with people. In a section on connecting with the diaspora, the document stated that the “diaspora can play a role and has a role in defending and improving Ireland’s reputation”.65

  • 66 Ibid., 34-35.

20Reputation counts in trade, business and tourism. Maintaining connections with the diaspora can be done through communication with the Global Irish hub, the global Irish newsletter,66 the “all about jobs” section, social media, but also by encouraging initiatives in the media such as Generation Emigration of the Irish Times. The point is to create a community of Irish people online, an online version of the Irish nation, all together connected across the world.

The post-Brexit context

21The association between diaspora policy and the economic development of the country has been further strengthened by successive policy documents which demonstrate a gradual expansion of the Irish diaspora. Those elements form a comprehensive policy associating the economy and the diplomatic and economic aspects of a diaspora. Such policies were organized in a context where the Republic of Ireland was trying to find a new role on the world stage, even trying to assert some form of soft power. Reputation appears as a core element of such a strategy, reputation for trade, for tourism which could only be valued by the way the Republic of Ireland presented itself to the world. In that respect, the diaspora has an important role to play.

  • 67 Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Irelan (...)

22The fact that the 2017 economic policy document was under the responsibility of two Ministries attested to the close connections existing between the economy, on the one hand, and the diplomatic and diaspora dimensions on the other. Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World jointly published in 2017 by two departments (the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), is a case in point.67 The Republic of Ireland’s trade strategy is one example of such a re-positioning which offers a joint vision of economic promotion and diaspora, of the economy and an awareness of a changed and uncertain context following the referendum on Brexit. The report set out the government’s new strategy for the Irish economy, trade and investment to 2020, in a globalized world. It suggested a re-assessment of former policies in the wake of Brexit, stressing the need for a strong export strategy. The core idea was to increase exports, attract more investment, visitors and students from abroad to succeed on international markets.

  • 68 Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Irelan (...)

Our openness to trade and investment is one of the mainsprings of our economy. Our economic success to date and our economic well-being into the future is forged by our commitment to trade liberalisation, to our global connectedness, to our values as an open society and our reputation as a safe and welcoming country.68

  • 69 Ibidem, 16, 27.
  • 70 Ibid., ii.
  • 71 Ibid., 26.
  • 72 The strategy also suggested turning towards third level institutions as well to promote Ireland’s (...)

23Central to that was the need to gain and increase global visibility using the strength of the diaspora, mobilizing it to gain and get “economic impact for Ireland”.69 It stated that “Ireland’s place as an open, globalized, trading partner in the wider world” should be further strengthened, and such a strategy rested on “building on and strengthening connectedness”70 at home and abroad around two core directions: overseas markets and diplomatic channels, and in particular economic diplomacy through Embassy networks. Ireland’s diaspora does have a key role to play there, alongside other actors and initiatives (the greening of public monuments for Saint Patrick’s day for instance), to raise Ireland’s global visibility.71 In that perspective, there is an emphasis on the influence, and the role people of Irish descent or origin together with people with affinity for Ireland could play to further Ireland’s economic fortunes in the future.72

  • 73 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland – Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025, Dublin, Stationery Off (...)
  • 74 In some respects, the report was very much based on the change induced by new technologies, as wel (...)
  • 75 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland, op. cit., 14.
  • 76 Ibidem, 14

24Issued the following year, Global Ireland built on previous ideas and did not deviate from previous lines placing the Irish diaspora as purveyor of strong relations and promoters of Ireland’s reputation. Published in 2018, Global Ireland – Ireland’s Global Footprint to 202573 aimed at setting a new place for Ireland as a global nation. On that new international scene where a re-positioning of global relationships was taking place, and a shift in terms of influence from West to East and South,74 the Republic of Ireland could find a true role to play on that changing world scene. Insisting on new international conditions in a more interconnected and globalized world, and stating that influence could be shaped through a strong international presence, the report recommended, among other things, that new embassies be opened and that Ireland develop its diplomatic services. The confessed objective was to have a strong presence abroad which depended on “how well we present and represent ourselves internationally”,75 with one objective in mind: to be presented and exist as an “island at the centre of the world”.76

  • 77 Ibid., 17.

As a country with a small, open trading economy, Ireland’s continuing prosperity depends on our ability to sell our goods and services into international markets, and to attract investment and tourists into the country.77

25If such an economic motive went hand in hand with a strong Irish presence in international political, financial and cultural organizations together with peace-keeping engagement and international relief, a core strategic element central for business and international role was the country’s reputation and its visibility:

  • 78 Ibid., 18.

Ireland’s international reputation matters enormously too. It takes time to build, but can be easily damaged. Irish representatives work hard to project and maintain a positive image of Ireland as a good place in which to live, to do business, to invest, to study or to visit.78

26A strong digital presence is part of that strategy along with an extension of the diasporans.

  • 79 Ibid.

Increasingly, reputation and ‘brand’ are created, maintained and developed online. Therefore it is vitally important that Ireland has a strong digital presence, driven by our values and objectives, underpinning the work we do to secure the interests and prosperity of our people.79

  • 80 Ibid., 51.

27The aim is to further develop connection with the diaspora abroad in a “digital space” and “maintain a sense of connectedness, to support their input to our national life, and to explore new business opportunities”.80 Global Ireland also extends to diasporans in conjunction with Ireland’s evolving economic strategy.

  • 81 Ibid., 18-19.

The Irish diaspora, the 70 million people around the world who are part of our global family, are also enormously important to our global presence, as are those who share an affinity with Ireland, whether through culture, education, tourism or contact with Irish communities and businesses abroad. Other diaspora cohorts, such as ‘affinity’ and ‘return’ diaspora (those who have lived in Ireland for a period before returning to their home elsewhere), are also potentially influential advocates for Ireland internationally.81

  • 82 Note that there is also a section on Ireland’s digital footprint with a series of measures to incr (...)

28The economic motives are never far, but a key element with that report is that the reverse diaspora is taken into account, in other words the possibility of counting on people who have settled in Ireland but also those who have returned to their home country, in particular those young Irish people with links with Ireland.82

  • 83 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland, op. cit., 51.

Ireland has become a very diverse society in recent years, with a large increase in immigration. Many of our new immigrants have made Ireland their permanent home, opting to become Irish citizens. They actively contribute to the life of their local communities and to the Irish economy. As a consequence of our increased internationalisation, Ireland can now count among its diaspora the ‘reverse diaspora’ – the growing number of people who have spent time living, studying and working in Ireland and then returned to their home countries, often with Irish-born children. We want these young Irish people to retain their links with Ireland and have pride in their Irish citizenship, and are exploring new ways to connect with our evolving diaspora communities.83

  • 84 Tourism, cultural engagement were also possibilities to promote Ireland further, as well as the pr (...)

29The reverse diaspora is also considered as a vector of influence and an actor to promote the Republic of Ireland.84 An extension of that approach was associated with the digital footprint suggested in the programme.

  • 85 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland, op. cit., 61.

Implement a global communications strategy to increase visibility, raise awareness, and build the reputation of Ireland. This communications strategy will be driven by Ireland’s values and objectives, and will help project a unified, positive image of Ireland as a good place in which to live, to do business, to invest, or to visit.85

  • 86 It is interesting to note that the Irish Embassy in Paris has been very active in its use of socia (...)

30In that sense, these online initiatives show a particular strategy to attract technology-savvy young Irish and non-Irish people to further act as vectors of the Republic of Ireland’s reputation and influence.86

  • 87 This latest policy document goes a long way to recognize a wider diaspora referring to those who l (...)
  • 88 Following its release in Dublin, the Irish Embassy in Washington, DC, launched the strategy and or (...)

31In November 2020, the Irish government launched its latest statement of policy, Global Ireland. Ireland’s Diaspora’s Strategy 2020-2025. This policy document continued the State’s strategy to extend the reach of the Irish and its association with a diaspora – a transnational diaspora with Irish roots but also without Irish roots – to further its economic development. Though the document aimed at making peace with its citizens living abroad and formally recognizing those who had been compelled to leave because of the wrongs of the past and/or for personal reasons,87 it also extends its reach to a huge array of people who can no longer all be said to belong to and/or form an Irish diaspora.88

  • 89 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland. Ireland’s Diaspora’s Strategy 2020-2025, Dublin: Stationery (...)

Ireland takes a broad and inclusive definition of the Irish diaspora, one that reflects the rich diversity of our global community. The contemporary diaspora is composed of individuals of every background from communities in every part of the world. It includes Irish citizens living overseas, both those born in Ireland and those born abroad to Irish families, as well as the heritage diaspora, those many millions of people of Irish descent around the world. It also embraces the reverse diaspora of people who have lived, studied or worked in Ireland before returning to their home countries as well as the affinity diaspora who hold a deep appreciation for our people, places and culture.89

  • 90 See editorial, “The Irish Times View on the Diaspora Strategy: Extending a Hand to the ‘Global Iri (...)

32The Irish born living abroad (born in Ireland or from Irish parents), the inherited diaspora, the reverse diaspora (who has lived and studied in Ireland), and affinity diaspora having a deep connection with Ireland, all now form the ‘Global Irish’ with whom the Republic of Ireland can connect. While welcoming its publication, the Irish Times hoped that such strategy should not be the only way to harness a vast untapped resource90 and wished that political representation and the ability to play a role in politics had also been included.

Conclusion

  • 91 A. Gamlen, “The Emigration State and the Modern Geopolitical Imagination”, op. cit., 842.

33Examining policy documents of various Irish governments between 2002 and 2020 reveals a close association between economic development and diaspora strategy in Ireland. Such an association was strengthened following the economic slowdown and crisis in 2010, and successive governments pursued that position in the following decade as Ireland has gradually tried to reposition itself on the world stage. From 2002 to 2020, to take Alan Gamlen’s expression, the “extraterritorial population”91 of the Republic of Ireland has been greatly expanded alongside the Irish State’s strategy of integration within a more globalized and competitive world, and its search for a new role following Brexit. In other words, an extensive view of the diasporans is used to promote and further Ireland’s economic and trade interests, and consequently its continuous economic development. The network aspect and the digitalization of connections with the ‘Global Irish’ also illustrate attempts to expand the country’s own influence and try to punch above its weight as a new global actor, counting on soft power through culture, the arts, its diaspora, and all the other people who share some affinity with Ireland’s heritage and culture.

34At the time of writing, there is hardly a doubt that COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on international migration and mobility. What remains to be seen, once the pandemic is over, is to what extent Ireland will review (or not) its strategy associating its diaspora and its economic development. As people have learnt to work remotely with new technologies through online meetings, will a diaspora strategy solely based on new technologies such as social media be successful in maintaining and nurturing a connection with people abroad, shaping a new form of diasporic identity?

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Notes

1 Kevin Kenny, Diaspora. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 96. In its successive World Migration Reports, the UN’s International Organization for Migration has studied the estimated numbers of international migrants, showing regular increases over the past five decades, from 153 million in 1990 to 281 million migrants in 2020. International Organization for Migration, Interactive World Migration Report 2022 website, UN – IOM, <https://worldmigrationreport.iom.int/wmr-2022-interactive/>, last accessed on 4 July 2023.

2 John Urry, Mobilities, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007, 3.

3 Both temporary migration and ‘circular’ migration (individuals who periodically move back and forth from their home country to the host country, often for seasonal work) are increasing. Kingley Aikins and Nicola White, Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit. Harnessing the Power of Global Diasporas, Dublin: Diaspora Matters, 2011, <https://thenetworkinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Diaspora-Toolkit-Book.pdf>, last accessed on16 October 2018.

4 Stephen Castles, Hein de Haas and Mark J. Miller, The Age of Migration. International Population Movements in the Modern World, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 5th ed., 2014, 5.

5 The Economist, “The Magic of Diasporas”, 19 November 2011.

6 Id.

7 Dana Diminescu, “The Connected Migrant: An Epistemological Manifesto”, Social Science Information, vol. 47, no 4, 2008, 565–579.

8 Michele Vanore, “Diasporas as Catalysts for Development”, in Kurzdossiers, Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, 26 January 2018, <https://www.bpb.de/gesellschaft/migration/kurzdossiers/263194/diasporas-as-catalysts-for-development> last accessed on 20 April 2019. Various reports were published to show how diasporas could be mobilized, and how States could engage with them. See for instance Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development jointly published by the International Organization for Migration and the Migration Policy Institute in 2012 or Kingsley Aikins and Nicola White, Global Diaspora. Strategies Toolkit. Harnessing the Power of Global Diasporas, Dublin: Diaspora Matters, 2011.

9 Mary Robinson, “Cherishing the Irish Diaspora” Address to Houses of the Oireachtas on a Matter of Public Importance, Dublin, 2 February 1995, <https://president.ie/en/media-library/speeches/cherishing-the-irish-diaspora-address-to-the-houses-of-the-oireachtas>, last accessed on 17 September 2023.

10 Kathleen Newland and Sonia Plaza, “What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development”, Migration Policy Institute, Policy Brief, no 5, 2013, 4. It should be noted that such a presentation does not take into the account the importance of the transfer of remittances for low and middle-income developing countries. See Dany Bahar, “Diasporas and Economic Development: A Review of the Evidence and Policy”, Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 62, 2020, 200-214, <https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41294-020-00117-0#Bib1>, last accessed on 15 December 2020.

11 K. Newland and S. Plaza, “What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development”, op. cit., 1. The market for ethnic food/products for example can be an example of how diasporas can help promote goods from their countries of origin.

12 Ibidem, 4.

13 Ibid., 1.

14 Ibid., 5.

15 Dany Bahar, “Diasporas and Economic Development: A Review of the Evidence and Policy”, op. cit., 6.

16 Such dimension works on a two-way basis through the creation of networks (networks spring from diaspora engagement and initiatives of states to channel diaspora’s engagement and desire to help). The creation of a formal or informal network of members of diasporas in a particular sector or an informal network of Irish parents, are channels for grassroots investment and engagement. Some examples of networks would be Irish mothers in Australia or a law society in London in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFTA), Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, Dublin: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2015.

17 Dany Bahar, “Diasporas and Economic Development: A Review of the Evidence and Policy”, op. cit. 208.

18 Bahar considers a wider perspective when he refers to “diffusion of skills, technologies and knowledge while Newland talks about knowledge and skills. D. Bahar, “Diasporas and Economic Development”, op. cit. 208.

19 K. Newland and S. Plaza, “What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development”, op. cit., 1. For instance, T. Mattelart has shown how in the early 2000s, diasporas have contributed to the spread of new technologies sending video tapes first but also helping with the development of communication networks such as satellite phones in some places in Africa. Tristan Mattelart, “Les Diasporas à l’heure des technologies de l’information et de la communication : petit état des savoirs”, in Tic&société, vol. 3, no 1-2, 2009.

20 K. Newland and S. Plaza, “What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development”, op. cit., 8.

21 Ibidem, 8.

22 As Valore writes, “When development is defined exclusively on GDP growth, a macro-level indicator, the role of an individual migrant or even diaspora group may not seem so important. If development is defined as expansion of human capital, however, a single individual’s contributions may be envisioned as more impactful.” Michele Vanore, “Diasporas as Catalysts for Development”, in Kurzdossiers, Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, op. cit., nd.

23 Alan Gamlen, “The Emigration State and the Modern Geopolitical Imagination”, Political Geography, vol. 27, 2008, 840-856, 842.

24 Ibidem, 851.

25 Ibid., 842.

26 Gamlen found that the Republic of Ireland had been active in cultivating its diaspora, including it in statutes within the Constitution, or maintaining a national culture and encouraging Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.

27 A. Gamlen, “The Emigration State and the Modern Geopolitical Imagination”, op. cit., 851.

28 Johanne Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, in Johanne Devlin Trew and Michael Pierse (eds.), Rethinking the Irish Diaspora. After the Gathering, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 15-57, 24.

29 For more information and a brief historical overview, see Irial Glynn, Tomás Kelly and Piaras Mac Éinrí, The Re-emergence of Emigration from Ireland: New Trends in an Old Story, Washington: Migration Policy Institute, 2015, 16. Others refer to previous decades as an Irish State showing “indifference to Irish citizens outside the State”. K. Howard, “Recycled Connections: The Irish State and its Diaspora”, in Katy Hayward and Muiris MacCarthaigh (eds.), Recycling the State. The Politics of Adaptation in Ireland, Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2007, 66-87, 70. For a long-term view on the history of both parts of the island of Ireland with the Irish diaspora together with an analysis of the role and influence of the business community, see Anne Groutel, Les Deux Irlandes et la diaspora. Un attachement intéressé, Caen: Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2021.

30 Breda Gray, “Towards the Neo-Institutionalization of Irish State-Diaspora Relations in the Twenty-First Century”, in Michael Collyer (ed.), Emigration Nations. Policies and Ideologies of Emigrant Engagement, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 100-125, 101.

31 Focusing on the Irish in Britain, K. Howard has argued that the Irish State’s attitude and engagement in the 1990s was gradually transformed regarding the Irish in Britain as the State moved from a laissez-faire approach to a proactive engagement. K. Howard, “Recycled Connections: The Irish State and its Diaspora”, in K. Hayward and M. MacCarthaigh (eds.), Recycling the State, op. cit., 66.

32 See Devlin Trew for a presentation of initiatives in Northern Ireland to connect with the Northern Irish diaspora, and later with both parts of the island trying to see what they could do to work together. Johanne Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, in Johanne Devlin Trew and Michael Pierse (eds.), Rethinking the Irish Diaspora. After the Gathering, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 15-57.

33 The Good Friday Agreement (also known as the Belfast Agreement) was signed on 10th April 1998 between the British and Irish governments, and most of the political parties in Northern Ireland. It paved the way for power-sharing and a devolved government for Northern Ireland, and later led to constitutional changes in the Republic of Ireland. The territorial claim to Northern Ireland contained in the Irish Constitution was dropped, and changes were made concerning citizenship rights in both parts of the island of Ireland.

34 “A key thread running through this report has been a conviction that the Irish Abroad are an integral part of the Irish Nation and must be recognized and treated as such. As the Constitution recognizes, nationality is essentially about identity not territory. Those who have left this country remain part of what we are as a Nation”. Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants, Ireland and the Irish Abroad: Report of the Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D, Dublin: Department of Foreign Affairs, 2002, 68.

35 K. Howard, “Recycled Connections: The Irish State and its Diaspora”, in K. Hayward and M. MacCarthaigh, (eds.), Recycling the State, op. cit., 74.

36 Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants, Ireland and the Irish Abroad, op. cit., 3, 14.

37 Ibidem, 3.

38 K. Howard, “Recycled Connections: The Irish State and its Diaspora”, in K. Hayward and M. MacCarthaigh, (eds.), Recycling the State, op. cit., 66. Political representation remains one drawback of Ireland’s relationship with its diaspora.

39 Ibidem, 66.

40 Johanne Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, in J. Devlin Trew and M. Pierse (eds.), Rethinking the Irish Diaspora. After the Gathering, op. cit., 32. The ESP supports organizations with grants, funds, projects, culture and also the needs of the elderly, disadvantaged migrants, but welfare remains at the heart of ESP funding. See for instance Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFTA), Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, Dublin: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2015.

41 Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants, Ireland and the Irish Abroad, op. cit., 3. It should not be forgotten that remittances from Irish emigrants made a substantial contribution to life at home in 19th and 20th century Ireland. See also Irial Glynn, Tomás Kelly and Piaras Mac Éinrí, The Re-emergence of Emigration from Ireland: New Trends in an Old Story, Washington: Migration Policy Institute, 2015, 4. The importance of remittances came back as an issue in 2019 in a particular context. See Una Mullally, “Irish Emigrants in America and the Money they Sent Home”, Irish Times, 30 June 2019; Rachel Flaherty, “‘Rural Ireland would not have survived’ without money being sent home by emigrants”, Irish Times, 14 November 2019, both last accessed 21 January 2021.

42 Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants, Ireland and the Irish Abroad, op. cit., 8.

43 Ibidem, 14.

44 K. Howard, “Recycled Connections: The Irish State and its Diaspora”, in K. Hayward and M. MacCarthaigh, (eds.), Recycling the State. The Politics of Adaptation in Ireland, op. cit., 74

45 J. Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, in J. Devlin Trew and M. Pierse (eds.), Rethinking the Irish Diaspora, op. cit., 32. See also B. Gray, “Towards the Neo-Institutionalization of Irish State-Diaspora Relations in the Twenty-First Century”, in M. Collyer (ed.), Emigration Nations. Policies and Ideologies of Emigrant Engagement, op. cit., 109.

46 B. Gray, “Towards the Neo-Institutionalization of Irish State-Diaspora Relations in the Twenty-First Century”, in M. Collyer (ed.), Emigration Nations, op. cit., 109. It is estimated that the number of people leaving Ireland more than tripled between 2008 and 2012 following the global financial crisis, bringing emigration back again in the public and political spotlight. See I. Glynn, T. Kelly and P. Mac Éinrí, The Re-Emergence of Emigration from Ireland, op. cit.

47 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFTA), Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, Dublin, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2015. See Anne Groutel, Les Deux Irlandes et la diaspora. Un attachement intéressé, op. cit., 283-364.

48 Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., April 2009, quoted in Delphine Ancien, Mark Boyle, and Rob Kitchin. 2009. Exploring Diaspora Strategies: Lessons for Ireland. Maynooth, NIRSA, NUI Maynooth, 2.

49 See for instance Anne Groutel, « Diaspora irlandaise et entrepreneuriat de croissance : vers un développement transnational des PME irlandaises ? », in Jacques-Henri Coste (ed.), Les Sociétés entrepreneuriales et les mondes anglophones : Cultures, contexte, perspectives, Paris, Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2013, 161-179.

50 Johanne Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, in Johanne Devlin Trew and Michael Pierse (eds.), Rethinking the Irish Diaspora. After the Gathering, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 15-57, 32. Other forums followed suite as well as the Gathering in 2013 [a tourist-led initiative generating money by inviting people from the Irish diaspora to visit the country in 2013, an idea that emanated from the first forum] which, though criticized by some as too focused on culture and the arts as well as tourism, underlined how important assets such domains were to Ireland’s economy. See Irial Glynn, Tomás Kelly and Piaras Mac Éinrí, The Re-emergence of Emigration from Ireland: New Trends in an Old Story, Washington: Migration Policy Institute, 2015, 15.

51 J. Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, in J. Devlin Trew and M. Pierse (eds.), Rethinking the Irish Diaspora, op. cit., 32.

52 Ibidem, 33.

53 A. Gamlen, ‘The Emigration State and the Modern Geopolitical Imagination, op. cit.

54 J. Devlin Trew, “Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, North and South, in the Shadow of Brexit”, op. cit., 33.

55 Author’s emphasis.

56 In the foreword to the report, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated that previous initiatives and work with the diaspora had helped “bolstering Ireland’s recovery”. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFTA), Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, Dublin: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2015, 6. Its front cover as well as the front covers of successive documents (except the latest Diaspora Policy document, see below, with a soberer front cover) presented the idea of a network.

57 DFTA, Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, Dublin: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2015, 16.

58 Ibidem, 17.

59 Mark Boyle and Adrian Kavanagh, “The Irish Government’s Diaspora Strategy: Towards a Care Agenda”, in J. Devlin Trew and M. Pierse (eds.), Rethinking the Irish Diaspora, op. cit., 59-79, 69.

60 DFTA, Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, op. cit., 53.

61 Ibid., 17. Interestingly, the focus was on both North and South regarding the question of emigration, in other words, it no longer concerned the Republic of Ireland only.

62 DFTA, Global Irish, op. cit., 4.

63 Ibid., 4.

64 Ibid., 20.

65 Ibid., 31.

66 Ibid., 34-35.

67 Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World, Dublin: Stationery Office, 2017.

68 Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland Connected: Trading and investing in a Dynamic World, op. cit., 1.

69 Ibidem, 16, 27.

70 Ibid., ii.

71 Ibid., 26.

72 The strategy also suggested turning towards third level institutions as well to promote Ireland’s visibility and reputation.

73 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland – Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025, Dublin, Stationery Office, 2018.

74 In some respects, the report was very much based on the change induced by new technologies, as well as shifts in terms of economic and political influence.

75 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland, op. cit., 14.

76 Ibidem, 14

77 Ibid., 17.

78 Ibid., 18.

79 Ibid.

80 Ibid., 51.

81 Ibid., 18-19.

82 Note that there is also a section on Ireland’s digital footprint with a series of measures to increase the digital presence and visibility of Ireland.

83 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland, op. cit., 51.

84 Tourism, cultural engagement were also possibilities to promote Ireland further, as well as the promotion of international students to come to Ireland and the role of agriculture as a purveyor of food in a global economy.

85 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland, op. cit., 61.

86 It is interesting to note that the Irish Embassy in Paris has been very active in its use of social media including a Twitter account to connect with Irish expatriates as well as people with an affinity with Ireland, and to communicate about their actions and the DFA’s initiatives.

87 This latest policy document goes a long way to recognize a wider diaspora referring to those who left the country, victims of abuse, and also members of the LGBT community for instance.

88 Following its release in Dublin, the Irish Embassy in Washington, DC, launched the strategy and organized an online presentation of the new diaspora strategy of the Irish government on 19 November 2020. It is significant that the strategy was presented in the US as historically, the Irish community there has been one of the largest and one of the most active and well-identified, but it also shows how the COVID-19 crisis has helped in promoting a digital strategy to connect with diaspora and diaspora organizations.

89 Government of Ireland, Global Ireland. Ireland’s Diaspora’s Strategy 2020-2025, Dublin: Stationery Office, 2020, 2.

90 See editorial, “The Irish Times View on the Diaspora Strategy: Extending a Hand to the ‘Global Irish’”, Irish Times, 18 November 2020.

91 A. Gamlen, “The Emigration State and the Modern Geopolitical Imagination”, op. cit., 842.

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Julien Guillaumond, « Connecting with the Diaspora and Promoting Economic Development: Two Sides of the Same Coin in 21st Century Ireland? »Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], vol 22. n°57 | 2024, mis en ligne le 15 février 2024, consulté le 24 février 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/15693 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/lisa.15693

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Julien Guillaumond

Julien Guillaumond is a Senior Lecturer of English and Irish studies in the Faculty of Languages, Cultures and Communication, at Clermont-Auvergne University. He holds a PhD in Irish studies from Sorbonne University on social and economic inequalities in 20th century Ireland. He is a member of the research lab Communication & Sociétés, and is currently part of the GIS EIRE research network. His research interests include citizenship and inequality issues in contemporary societies as well as various aspects of Irish political, economic and social history. He is currently working on diaspora issues in Ireland and France, as well as identity representations with a particular focus on tourism and nation branding. / Julien Guillaumond est maître de conférences en anglais à l’U.F.R. LCC (Langues, Cultures et Communication), Université Clermont-Auvergne. Il a soutenu une thèse en études irlandaises intitulée « L’Irlande de 1922 à 2002 : l’impossible route vers une société plus juste ? » à l’Université Sorbonne Nouvelle–Paris III en novembre 2009. Il est membre du laboratoire Communication et sociétés (EA 4647), et du réseau GIS EIRE. Ses thèmes de recherche portent sur l’histoire politique, économique et sociale de l’Irlande aux xxe et xxie siècles. Depuis quelques années, il s’intéresse aux enjeux contemporains de la diaspora irlandaise, et plus particulièrement à l’identité irlandaise dans ses dimensions économiques et politiques.

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