SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has joined an international group of Irish-connected parliamentarians in Dublin for the first-ever Global Irish Parliamentarians’ Forum.
The forum will foster Ireland’s relationship with its diaspora – including on the economic front – by bringing together Irish-connected politicians who serve in national parliaments and state assemblies in Australia, Canada, France, the UK and the USA.
Mr Durkan said: “This forum provides a great opportunity to meet political representatives who serve in national parliaments and state assemblies throughout the world.
“We discussed a wide range of issues – including the possibility of establishing an Irish Parliamentarian World Forum to discuss issues relating to the Irish diaspora, a Global Irish Parliamentarians’ newsletter, collaboration on projects of mutual interest and the use of social media to connect politicians globally.
“The strengthening of bonds with the Irish diaspora and friends of Ireland – including politicians – is of great assistance to companies here seeking to do business overseas.
“The forum also highlighted the invaluable work of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) which has distributed €900 million in support of peace and reconciliation projects in the North and southern border counties since its establishment in 1986.
“Indeed, the IFI’s ‘2016 - 2020 Strategy’ aims to continue its support for positive initiatives in Derry and elsewhere – including programmes focussed on youth development, interface barrier removal and cross-community reconciliation.”