MEP exhibits diaspora centre plan in Brussels

by Gazette Reporter

DUN Laoghaire’s plans for a new state-of-the-art diaspora centre to be built on the Carlisle Pier will go on display this week in Brussels as part of an exhibition entitled Dublin as a European Smart city.
The exhibition will be hosted by Irish MEP Emer Costello and will focus on the diaspora centre and the creation of a new €2.5 billion fund for Europe’s most deprived residents, which will benefit Dublin annually.
The centre will be an interactive facility focusing on Ireland and its emigrants past and present, the influence they have had historically on the nation and maintaining links with current emigrants.
Altogether, there will be 12 Irish innovators promoting Dublin as a European smart city at the event, and An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, will be paying a visit to the European Parliament while the event is ongoing.
Costello had championed the proposed centre in the European Parliament before, and last September, she told council members at a seminar that the centre could act as a pilot model for other nations thinking of making connections with their own diasporas.
For the past six months, she has been working in Europe to secure support for such a centre in Dun Laoghaire, which needs funding of €50 million to build.
At the seminar, Costello claimed that the diaspora centre proposed for Dun Laoghaire could lead the way for an integrated EU diaspora strategy.
She wrote to the then American Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, about the centre who, in turn, agreed to support the 2013 Global Diaspora Forum, due to take place in Dun Laoghaire this May.
At the time, the MEP said she was: “determined to pursue the development of a European diaspora strategy, particularly during Ireland’s EU Presidency in the first half of next year”.
Other exhibitors at the event will showcase smart innovations in Dublin, such as IBM’s technology campus in Mulhuddart; The Green Way, a “clean tech” cluster running from the north inner city through Ballymun to Swords; Dublin City Council and representatives of Trinity, UCD and DCU colleges.
The Labour MEP is also in the process of drafting a €2.5 billion fund for European Aid to the most deprived.
This will bring annual benefits of up to €15 million to Ireland, and Costello has been visiting local groups around Dublin who would benefit from the fund.
Dublin as a European Smart City opened in Brussels on Monday, March 4, and was officially launched by Irish Commissioner Maire Geoghagan-Quinn on Tuesday, March 5.

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