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Irish Chamber

Returned migrant's links remain with Australia

Thursday, November 5, 2015

In this edition of the IACC blog, our CEO shares a story of one returned migrant, where they've found themselves and how their idea back in Ireland is creating business for a company in Australia.

In recent weeks as we have been gearing up our "Returning Migrants Program" - the first of it's kind within the Global Irish diaspora - I was reflecting on a number of Chamber folk who have gone back recently. They are going back to Ireland as different people to those who left some years ago and equally so, the Ireland they are returning to has also moved on in that time based on their feedback to me. Many have had a positive experience in Australia and want to retain some links related to their time here.

One example of that emerged over the weekend with contact from JP O'Neill, who I had last met when dropping off a raffle prize to him after our St Patrick's Corporate Lunch. At that stage, JP was General Manager of PMI Corp, a business in Melbourne and as is the case for many others, we discovered that we grew up a few miles from each other back in Ireland but had to go to the other side of the world to meet!

The news from JP piqued my interest as he returned to Ireland in July after 11 years away and has gone into a completely new type of role in a new sector as Executive Officer at The Cormac Trust. For anyone who's unaware, The Cormac Trust is a charity that was set up in memory of former Tyrone footballer, Cormac McAnallen, who died suddenly in 2004. His influence on sport, even at a relatively young age, is reflected in the fact that the International Rules Series later in the month will see Ireland and Australia compete for the Cormac McAnallen Cup.

JP told me about an initiative that he has put together for fundraising through the diaspora. Marrying his years of experience in Australia in print marketing to the publicity gained around the International Rules Series and that common thread for the diaspora, thoughts of home at Christmas, to create a clever Christmas Cards project. While countless charities will be selling cards at this time of year, this project will see the cards printed on demand in the country they are ordered from and that element channels work to local businesses on the ground here in Australia. I thought it was quite innovative that a small charity based in rural Tyrone will be doing business online with the diaspora this year and creating economic activity here in Australia through producing the cards while raising funds for the charity back in Ireland. That's got to be a win-win-win in my book.

I think it's great to see how those heading back to Ireland now have been enriched by their international experience and while they may have returned, they are still thinking globally. We can all have a part to play as members of the Global Irish community and it doesn't always have to be a massive transaction to make a difference!