Belfast Telegraph

New online migrant network to help on the home front

Clare Weir

A new online scheme has been launched to help people living outside Northern Ireland improve the local economy.

The new not-for-profit virtual organisation, Northern Irish Connections, is aimed at developing the support of people with a connection to the province by birth, family, education or business.

People living outside Northern Ireland are a key audience for organisations focused on fostering the economy here through business, tourism, education or trade.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said that the "diaspora community" is a key audience.

"By creating this new, not-for-profit organisation to take the strategic lead and determine the best method for interacting with the diaspora community we can ensure that all interactions with this target group are co-ordinated, timely and effective," she said.

"Working closely with central and local government, it will play a key role in the delivery of the Executive's economic strategy.

"One of its key responsibilities will be to develop and maintain a global network of advocates who will be in a position to communicate key strategic messages in their country and sector, facilitating developments in foreign investment, trade, education and tourism in Northern Ireland."

The network will be funded by a subscriptions system, open to public and private organisations.