An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, has launched a new education initiative supported by Enterprise Ireland to bring the sons and daughters of Irish emigrants all over the world to study in Ireland. The Ireland Homecoming Study Programme (IHSP) aims to encourage the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Irish nationals, and non-resident passport holders living outside the European Union, to return to Ireland for their higher education studies. According to the Emigrant Advice Network (EAN) there are over 3.1 million non-resident Irish passport holders.
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) is one of eight Institutes of Technology taking part in the pilot programme which aims to attract descendants of the Irish Diaspora to study in Ireland at significantly discounted rates. The other seven participating ITs are in Athlone, Blanchardstown, Carlow, Cork, Dundalk, Sligo, and Waterford.
The IHSP will offer tuition costs to qualifying students of up to 40 percent less than the standard rate for non-EU students. The fee for the 2010/2011 intake will be €5,950. The programme aims to attract over 500 students over the next three years contributing an estimated €10 million to the Irish economy.
Students from overseas will be able to undertake undergraduate degree courses or shorter study courses. All degrees and qualifications in Ireland are globally recognised and fully transferable. Students will emerge with the professional skills needed to embark on a productive career path.
The programme will let the Irish Diaspora’s descendents study in the European Union and take advantage of Ireland’s excellent third level education reputation while tapping into their Irish heritage.
Programme creator and co-ordinator, Brían McNamara of Waterford IT (WIT) said: “The ‘Global Irish’ can now obtain very affordable qualifications in Ireland through the IHSP. As a nation, we have long recognised the important role that the Irish Diaspora or Global Irish play in promoting Irish culture and trade. This initiative will offer a practical benefit to the off-spring of Irish people abroad by allowing their children obtain an exceptional Irish education at highly competitive rates.”
Marion Coy, President of GMIT, said: “This programme is particularly appropriate to GMIT as the history of emigration from the West of Ireland means that we have strong links to the US.”
Information on and applications for participation in the IHSP from the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of Irish nationals can be accessed at www.irelandhsp.com
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