Henry Healy, distant cousin of US President Barrack Obama and Moneygall resident and community leader has joined Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO), the national reverse genealogy project as Community Activation Leader. Ireland XO is currently being rolled out nationwide with a target of being live in 1,000 Irish parishes by the end of 2012.
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.
Hi-Res version of Photo: Mike Feerick welcomes Henry Healy to the Ireland XO Team available HERE.
For further information see Ireland XO Press Section
About the Ireland Reaching Out Programme
The Ireland XO project is based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for Irish-Americans and their global counterparts to come to Ireland to trace their roots, we go the other way. Working through voluntary effort at a townland, village and parish level, we identify who left, and trace them and their descendants worldwide, proactively engaging with them and inviting them to become part of an extended “virtual” community with their place of origin. In this way, the entire Irish Diaspora of 70 million can be systematically reunified online and invited back to engage with their ancestral parish for the benefit of all. The project’s website www.irelandxo.com provides a landing point in Ireland for people abroad who have some detail about where their emigrant ancestors come 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. This “Meet/Greet/Connect” offer from parish communities across Ireland has been identified as a missing element from developing the Irish Diaspora in times past. The Ireland XO project is enabled today by the harnessing of the best of modern communications and internet technology, combined by the simple welcome and hospitality for which Ireland is known and celebrated worldwide.
The Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) project was awarded a Arthur Guinness Fund Award for social entrepreneurship of €100,000 in May 2012. It won a special award at the national for “Pride of Place” Awards in Nov 2011. In February 2012, Ireland XO was voted the “Best Community” initiative nationally by the Local Authorities Members Awards (LAMA). The project which is a non-profit charity for the community dedicated to the development of the Irish Diaspora was founded in South-East Galway by Mike Feerick in 2009 and has been funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Heritage Council, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ireland Funds, Galway County Council, Galway Rural Development (GRD), and Irish-American sources. Sponsors include Google, Guinness, An Post, and the National Library. In Dec 2011, the project launched a global partnership with the GAA, agreeing to link newly identified members of the Irish Diaspora to the network of nearly 500 GAA clubs worldwide. Well-known broadcasters and economists David McWilliams and George Lee have been prominent supports of Ireland XO pointing out the extraordinary economic potential of the project, which rises well beyond the immediate and obvious tourism opportunity. The Ireland Reaching Out project aims to connect over million people through the project by the end of 2013. It believes it can achieve a database of 10 million members of the Irish Diaspora, including delivering one million additional visits to the island of Ireland by the end of 2016.
Ireland XO 2011/2012
Irish Times – An Taoiseach launches Diaspora Initiative
Irish Independent - Enda shows how we can all give hand to diaspora
RTE The Business George Lee – The Irish Diaspora
New Tech Post: Ireland Reaching Out Launch 2012
New York Times: In tough times; the Irish call their Diaspora
RTE Nationwide: The Obama Visit – Linking to the Diaspora
Irish-American Magazine; Bring them all Back Home