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Clare County Council has confirmed its intention to submit a bid to develop and operate the National Diaspora Centre that has been proposed by Government.

The Local Authority’s proposal to have the centre located in County Clare was presented to and backed by Elected Members at the March monthly meeting of Clare County Council held at Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis this evening.

Mayor of Clare Cllr. Joe Arkins welcomed the proposed bid, adding: “It is believed that an Irish Diaspora comprising more than 71 million Irish people exists worldwide. Being the host County for this new centre would clearly bring significant benefits for tourism, both locally and nationally. It would also generate significant jobs and further strengthen the already strong heritage tourism product that has been developed in Clare.”

Clare County Manager Tom Coughlan confirmed the Council is examining a number of locations in the Bunratty area of Clare and is working in conjunction with Shannon Heritage on an overall bid proposal.

“Clare County Council feels that Clare has a huge amount to offer such a centre and a location at Bunratty offers excellent access from the motorway, is near Shannon International Airport and has an established tourism infrastructure. Over the years, Bunratty has also become known internationally for its status as a quality brand,” he added.

Mr. Coughlan continued: “There is a major amount of work to be done and it is expected that the detailed criteria applying will be set out as part of the expressions of interest process. Funding will also be a major challenge but that is a challenge that will face all parties who enter the process. It is our intention to compile a strong and compelling case for County Clare and I am delighted that the members of Clare County Council have pledged their support to ensuring the most comprehensive bid is put forward”. Clare

County Council is currently in the process of appointing tourism consultants to assist in the formulation of the bid.

After securing approval from Government last week, Fáilte Ireland is shortly expected to make a call for expressions of interested parties to develop and operate a National Diaspora Centre. Responses to the call will be assessed initially by the Fáilte Ireland executive before their findings are submitted, alongside the expressions of interest, to a committee comprising an independent Chair and representatives of relevant Departments and other interested parties. Following consideration of the proposals submitted in response to the call, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, T.D will discuss the matter with the Cabinet, and will advise the Government if suitable projects or partners have been identified.