Éan worked on a number of issues that affecting the lives of emigrants.
The 2002 Task Force Report on Policy Regarding Emigrants highlighted for the need for programmes that would allow some emigrants to come back for a visit to Ireland in a supported way. Éan is working toward a manual of best practice that would allow local communities to welcome visiting older emigrants.
Ean’s first pilot project took place in Clones, Co. Monaghan, in October 2007. The Clones Community Forum welcomed eight emigrants back from London for a week that allowed the participants to reconnect with Ireland and, for some of them, their families at home.
Éan is working toward developing a set of curriculum materials that would allow transition-year teachers to highlight the role of emigration in Ireland’s history and society.
See the latest (April 2008) version of the curriculum, with resources and classroom exercise suggestions. (Note: check back frequently – the curriculum is being updated.)
In 2007, Ean participated in political lobbying to ensure that the information needs of Ireland’s emigrants would be highlighted in broadcast legislation passed this year. Ean believes that radio is an essential way of reaching the Irish abroad and is a particularly valuable tool for reaching older, more isolated Irish emigrants living in Britain and throughout Europe.
We have a particular interest in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale), a digital technology that can provide clear transmission to emigrants throughout Britain and Europe. Noreen Bowden, Ean’s Director, and Enda O’Kane, an Ean member, spoke at the Marconi Conference in Clifden in October 2007 on the importance of radio to emigrants, and the potential of DRM.
See Noreen’s brief PowerPoint presentation from the Marconi conference, highlighting radio as a communications tool for emigrants.
Ean is developing awareness about international norms for emigrants’ participation in the political process of their home countries. Ireland is not one of the nearly 100 nations that allow its citizens abroad to have a say in elections.
Returning gay emigrants and civil partnerships
Ireland’s non-recognition of civil partnership can serve as a particular barrier to gay and lesbian emigrants who might otherwise return home to Ireland. This may change with the expected introduction of civil partnership legislation.
Éan recognises that transportation issues can serve as a major barrier for elderly emigrants who would like to visit home. Éan supports the campaign to have the right to free travel extended to elderly citizens who live abroad. Age limits on car rentals can also serve as a barrier – see our post on car rental age limits.
Undocumented in the US
Éan supports the work of immigration advocates in the US as they campaign for comprehensive immigration reform that would grant undocumented immigrants in the US a path to citizenship.