Telling of Diaspora story better served by engaging local communities – Donohoe

17th February, 2015

Decision taken not to proceed with development of National Diaspora Centre


The Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, has today (Tuesday) advised the Government that he does not propose to proceed with the development of a National Diaspora Centre as a tourism project.


The Diaspora policy review by the department of Foreign Affairs and the forthcoming policy statement on tourism from Minister Donohoe’s own Department both highlight the importance and value of engaging local communities across the country.  In that context, the Minister does not consider that a single National Diaspora Centre is the most appropriate way to present the history and legacy of Ireland’s Diaspora over the centuries, particularly given the continuing constraints on the Exchequer and competing priorities for investment in tourism.


Minister Donohoe said: ‘Rather than trying to limit the many and varied stories of our Diaspora by putting them into one centre, I believe that they are more meaningful and appealing to locals and visitors alike when told in the context of the places that our emigrants came from’.


“The State and its agencies and institutions will instead develop opportunities to tell the many stories of the Diaspora within the framework of the new tourism and Diaspora policies, engaging local communities and building on existing assets. The funding available for capital investment in tourism will, for the foreseeable future, concentrate on such programmes as the Wild Atlantic Way, the soon to be launched branding proposition for the South and East and signature projects that are in keeping with plans to grow tourism in Dublin.


“The funding available from the Exchequer remains constrained and I want to make sure that the funds we have are used in a manner that achieves the optimum tourism impact.  Having seen the impact already of the investment on the Wild Atlantic Way, I expect Fáilte Ireland will continue investing in major propositions like the WAW, which have a real impact and spread the benefits of tourism across the country.  I know that Fáilte Ireland are developing a similar approach to creating a major proposition from the fantastic heritage and cultural assets in the South and East of the country.  In addition, the current work of the Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance, so ably chaired by Michael Carey, may well identify key investments which would enhance our capital’s appeal to overseas visitors.


“In that light, I have advised the Government that, following a review of the resources and options available for its delivery, I do not propose to proceed with the development of a National Diaspora Centre as a tourism project. I have arrived at this decision following a careful consideration and analysis of available resources, the principles contained in the soon to be published tourism policy and the Government’s broader diaspora policy.


“Of course, the decision not to go ahead with a National Diaspora Centre as a State-backed project does not preclude any other proposal which is financially robust from going ahead, if its backers can make it work.  I would be happy to see any good project, which tells the stories of our Diaspora, past and present, in a sensitive and meaningful way, being developed.  But I do believe that, at Government level, we will do better to work with local communities and build on the many narratives of Diaspora we already have across the country and in our cultural institutions.”



Note for Editors:

An allocation of €17,350,000 has been provided in 2015 to support investment in tourism product infrastructure.


The allocation is sufficient to meet commitments under the Tourism Capital Investment Programme that will fall due in 2015 as well as further investment in the Wild Atlantic Way. To date the Government has committed to spending €10,000,000 in developing the Wild Atlantic Way as follows:

  • Route signage – €3m
  • Development programme for the 159 Discovery Points and 25 embarkation points (Embarkation points for the 24 island Discovery points) – €4.6m


The allocation will also see investment in a number of other priority tourism projects during 2015 including

  • Redevelopment of Killarney House
  • Garinish Island
  • Dubline Heritage Trail
  • Spike Island
  • Kilkenny Mediaeval Mile
  • Boyne Valley visitor Centres