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21/09/2016 - Launch of the Donegal Global Skills Locator

Rosita Mahony  379 x 269 

 Rosita Mahony, talking with Citabria Stevens for ESRI’s E380 channel, San Diego , July, 2016


Minister Joe Mc Hugh T.D., Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development is launching the Donegal Global Skills Locator App at 4pm on Friday, 23rd September in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel as part of the annual Tip O’Neill Ireland Diaspora Awards 2016.


Whilst there is no substitute to having family close to home, Donegal County Council has developed an App that allows us to connect with our nearest and dearest living  around the world.  The App entitled ‘Donegal Answers Ireland’s Call’, sets out to showcase all that the county can offer the returning Diaspora, and in addition contains the Global Skills Locator.


The pioneer behind this exciting new development is Rosita Mahony who works in the Research and Policy Unit, Donegal County Council. Rosita highlighted that ‘for the most part our youngest and highly skilled population have left Ireland when the recession hit in 2008 and new figures released by the Central Statistics Office in 2016 reveals that Donegal was the most severely affected  and futhermore skills gaps are emerging in a number of key growth sectors’.  Recognising this, Rosita began to explore how technology could address these issues and she began to develop an app, using GIS technology to capture those skills with the ultimate aim to match job opportunities at home.


 Launch of the Donegal Global Skills Locator

 The Donegal Global Skills Locator


With Ireland now in recovery mode, this app illustrates to the Diaspora thinking of returning home, the positive impact that this recovery has had on number of key sectors in County Donegal, including investment, health, house prices, education services and amenities. Therefore, by presenting our Diaspora with practical information it provides them with the necessary information and incentives to consider relocating home.


Ireland’s Call was first shown at the Tip O’Neill Annual Irish Diaspora Award ceremony in 2015, where Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, former Minister of State for Diaspora Affairs described it as, “An exciting and innovative way of connecting and engaging with the Irish Diaspora Community globally.” As a result, the app was presented at a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs where a national collaborative initiative wasbeing developed to attract skilled Irish workers back to Ireland.


 Global Skills Locator 2 379 x 269

 Collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Oct,  2015


Rosita was then invited to attend and contribute to the fourth Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle which discussed better and more effective ways of Diaspora connectivity and engagement.  Since then the app has featured in the Department of Foreign Affairs Global Irish Newsletter, The Local Diaspora Toolkit and the Chambers Ireland In Business Magazine and supported the Department of Foreign Affairs #HomeToWork campaign in 2015.


In June 2016, Donegal County Council received funding from the Department of the Taoiseach  under the Local Diaspora Strategic Development Fund , to modify and customise the Global Skills Locator, to engage with key development agencies and to develop a global promotional and marketing strategy. 


Donegal was firmly placed on the global map when Rosita’s work was selected by an expert industry committee and ultimately chosen to be presented at ESRI’s International Conference in San Diego California in June, which is the largest global event dedicated to GIS technology and attended by 17,000 people from 140 countries.  In its 37 year history, Rosita is the first person from the Local Authority sector in Ireland to have the prestige of speaking at the global event.


Through Irish Outreach San Diego and the Irish Consulate in San Francisco, Rosita was invited to meet with members of our Diaspora now living in Southern California who were very keen to hear about the Donegal Diaspora project and how the app is using technology to make and sustain those connections.


Over the next number of months Donegal County Council will focus on consolidating and expanding these linkages through the development and implementation of a Global Promotion and Marketing Strategy.  


According to Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise and Economic Development in Donegal County Council, this app will play an important role in our Diaspora Policy going forward.  ‘As our economy improves, we anticipate a shortage of skills across a range of sectors. The global skills locator will be a key tool to enable us to bridge the gap between our need for new skills and our international connections around the world, thus enabling us to grow our economy and our County into the future’.    


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