'Global Irish' lured home
International students to be offered reduced third-level fees
THE children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Irish nationals across the world are being offered reduced third-level fees to come and study in Ireland.
The new 'Ireland Homecoming Study Programme' was announced last night by the Taoiseach Brian Cowen in Washington as part of efforts to generate €10m for the Irish economy.
Eight institutes of technology will now offer significantly discounted fees in order to attract descendants of the Irish diaspora.
Non-EU students have to pay fees to study in Ireland, but the new scheme means that the Irish diaspora will pay up to 40pc less than the normal rate.
Moves to reach out to the Irish diaspora follow last year's think-in in Farmleigh which heard from Irish-Americans about Ireland's economic difficulties and possible solutions.
The new study programme aims to attract over 500 students over the next three years and is expected to contribute an estimated €10m to the Irish economy, according to Mr Cowen.
The eight institutes offering the reduced fee of €5,950 include Athlone, Blanchardstown, Carlow, Cork, Dundalk, Galway/Mayo, Sligo and Waterford.
Programme creator Brian McNamara said the 'global Irish' can now obtain very affordable qualifications in Ireland through the new scheme.
"As a nation, we have long recognised the important role that the Irish diaspora or global Irish play in promoting Irish culture and trade," he said.
"This initiative will offer a practical benefit to the offspring of Irish people abroad by allowing their children obtain an exceptional Irish education at highly competitive rates."
Chief Executive of Institutes of Technology Ireland, Gerry Murray, said the programme would generate a new crop of "goodwill ambassadors" to promote Irish commerce and culture worldwide.
The Taoiseach also announced €60m in new contracts and agreements for new export sales were signed-off on by Enterprise Ireland during this week's trade mission to Silicon Valley and Washington DC.
Kilkenny's Taxback.com; Limerick's Advanced Innovations and Galway's Lifes2Good were among those that announced new sales deals.
Kerry company Aspen Connect announced that its expansion in the US will create 15 new jobs in its headquarters in Kerry Technology Park.
The US is a critical market for Irish exporters, with over 600 Irish companies exporting to the US, and the US accounting for over 20pc of total exports from Ireland, Mr Cowen said.