DISCUSSIONS have been held at a senior level regarding the establishment of a global Irish diaspora centre in Limerick city.
Fine Gael deputy Kieran O’Donnell said with just over 100 days to go to 2013, designated as the year of The Gathering, now is the time to put in place this project for Limerick.
Deputy O’Donnell said he has held discussions with Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar regarding the possibility of establishing such a centre in Limerick, which he feels “would be an ideal location.”
He said the Minister has confirmed that he will “seek expressions of interest in this whole area”.
“To put it simply, I believe that Limerick city, and the Opera Centre site in particular, should be the location for a new Irish Diaspora Centre, which will serve as the hub in Ireland for returning diaspora members. It is estimated that the diaspora is comprised of approximately 71 million Irish people across the world. The Irish Global Diaspora Centre is a major national and international undertaking. Limerick’s relationship with Shannon airport would be pivotal in the project. A centre like this can act as a major and sustainable stimulus for Shannon into the future,” he said.
Deputy O’Donnell said he will continue discussions with all stakeholders in order to try and progress this project for Limerick, which will form part of his “on-going campaign for jobs in Limerick.”
“A global project like this reflects the pioneering ambition that served Limerick and the Mid-West so well in the early days of Shannon. I believe that progressing this project would help to re-invigorate Limerick City centre, while also boosting tourism and Shannon airport.”
He said the timing is right for this project with the re-organisation of the local authority structure.