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A new Community Tourism initiative for the Diaspora which seeks to build on the legacy of The Gathering 2013 has been launched in County Clare.

The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, officially launched the initiative, a joint partnership between Fáilte Ireland, IPB Insurance and the 34 Local Authorities, to provide an annual fund of €1m over the next three years to support up to 700 local community-based events and festivals each year around the country.

Clare County Council will provide €30,000 over the next three years for this purpose.

Commenting on the initiative, Tom Coughlan, County Manager said: “Every year we support many festivals, facilitate forums and engage with citizens to support them in community events. We want to develop our communities to make them sustainable to live in, give people a sense of pride and belonging and encourage visitors and commerce.”

Over 240 festivals and events took place in Clare during the year of The Gathering and last year's IPB Gathering Ireland fund benefited 93 festivals and events. ‘Celebrate Scattery Island’ scooped the Excellence in Local Government Community Tourism award and was specifically organised as a gathering event.

This year, as a follow-on to The Gathering, Clare County Council is leading the roll-out of the Brian Ború initiative both at county and national level and hopes that it will reap rewards for the tourism sector.

“Pride in Place and Pride in Community is at the heart of what we do in Clare County Council, and reaching out to and re-connecting with our Diaspora is a very important part of our work with our communities,” added Mr Coughlan. He continued: “This initiative will inject a new energy into communities, making people think about how they can promote their localities through new and recurring events and how they can sell these events to visitors. It will give opportunities for individuals, groups and co-ops to get creative and think outside of traditional target markets and audiences”.

The Community Diaspora Tourism Initiative is a direct response to one of the clear successes of last year’s The Gathering where 5,000 communities mobilised to harness their Diaspora links for the benefit of local and community tourism.

The amount awarded will be based on the number of overseas visitors attending events. The minimum offered is €500 and the maximum €3,000. Clare County Council will seek applications for support from local community events from today, with a closing date of 9th May. For further information please see www.clare.ie and queries by email can be directed to tourism@clarecoco.ie.