The Irish Diaspora face serious challenges when they try to move back home.

Cllr Michael McMahon (SF) called on Donegal County Council to help.

He raised the issue at the September meeting of the Municipal District (MD) of Donegal. The councillor who has long been an activist for the undocumented Irish in America had recently returned from a trip to New York.

He said: “One of the problems out there is trying to move a family home if some of them were born in the US. They have serious issues getting a PRSI number and can have problems getting a driving licence once they come back.

“It upsets them in a big way.”

Cllr McMahon said people only wanted to come home.

“There are people who have made money in America and want to invest it in this county,” he said. “They should be helped.”

He asked if the upcoming Donegal Connect event included anything to help such people.

Economic Development Administrative Officer with Donegal County Council Barney McLaughlin confirmed that it would.

“There will be a full day event for people coming back with different agencies there to assist,” he said. “There will be case studies about what the roadblocks are and what assistance is there to overcome those roadblocks.

“It will talk people through what happens when you want to come back and help them understand how to become a resident again with the least amount of hassle.”

Donegal Connect is a major collaborative event between the public and private sector. The aim is to create new opportunities for Donegal through engagement with the Diaspora and anyone considering coming to Ireland.

It is hoped that people will come to the county and find out why it is a wonderful county in which to live, be educated or invest.

It runs over 10 days from September 27 to October 6 and includes everything from arts and entertainment to island visits, sporting events and investment and skills symposia.

Donegal Connect ambassadors include Paul McGinley, Packie Bonner, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh.

Supporting organisations include Donegal County Council, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Udaras na Gaeltachta, IDA Ireland, the Local Enterprise Office, the Food Coast, Pramerica, Abbots Diabetes Care and Randox, the tourism sector and local businesses. The project is also supported by Fáilte Ireland under the Global Irish Initiative.

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