Conference to explore Irish and Donegal Diaspora

A conference this week explores the Irish and Donegal Diaspora, looking at historical and present-day perspectives, and issues of United States immigration reform.

A conference this week explores the Irish and Donegal Diaspora, looking at historical and present-day perspectives, and issues of United States immigration reform.

“One Donegal: Many Pasts, One Future”, organised by Donegal County Council, will address the history, experiences and legacy of the Diaspora through discussions with academics, authors and politicians from Ireland north and south, and abroad.

The conference will be held on Tuesday, June 4th, and Wednesday, 5th, at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology. It is part of the council-led Hands of History Project, and the ongoing Donegal Diaspora Project, said Michael Heaney, council director of service for community, culture and planning.

He said the Diaspora project has been reaching out to Donegal people abroad, and part of that has been to learn more about where the Diaspora are living and what they have achieved, as well as the economic, political and cultural benefits that can result.

Mr. Heaney said the council has worked to develop and foster links with the Diaspora, as in its involvement with the Golden Bridges project in Massachusetts, a project designed to attract sustainable investment to Ireland’s north west.

Conference speakers include Dr. Patrick Fitzgerald, Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, Ulster American Folk Park; Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe reporter; Dr Ian Adamson, OBE, president of the Ullans Academy; Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of “All Souls: A Family Story from Southie”; and Sister Lena Deevy, director emeritus of the Irish International Immigrant Centre, Boston.

The EU-funded Hands of History was designed to explore how Donegal remembers key events in the county’s and country’s history, and to provide an opportunity for people to apply lessons from the past to the present day. It is being led by the county council under the auspices of the Donegal County Development Board Peace and Reconciliation Partnership.