First ever parish liaison gathering meets in Athlone

Parish volunteer leaders from all over Ireland gathered in Athlone last weekend for the first ever national training event for local parish Ireland XO coordinators.

Over 70 parish volunteer leaders of Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO ) met at the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone for the first national training day, a milestone event for the fast-growing Irish Diaspora Programme.

The aim of the training event was to help leaders to develop their knowledge about the programme, including its online tools and resources. The Ireland XO programme has grown from a pilot project in southeast Galway in 2010 to a nationwide organisation of 2,000 volunteers, north and south.

Commenting on the Athlone event, the group’s founder and chairman, Mike Feerick said, “The national Ireland XO Parish Liaison meeting is another wonderful first. The enthusiasm and energy of so many of the volunteers we met there - many of whom we were meeting for the first time - was tremendously inspiring.”

Speaking recently, Taoiseach Enda Kenny praised the Ireland XO initiative, saying,“The expansion of the programme is evidence that it is offering the Irish diaspora a chance to engage in a way that is really valuable to them. Like The Gathering 2013 initiative, Ireland XO is a great opportunity to reach out to the Irish diaspora around the world, allow them to reconnect with their heritage and tap into the potential it represents for local communities around Ireland.”

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