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Crosscare’s Irish Diaspora Support Project is hosting a unique virtual conference on how best to support Irish emigrants returning home.

‘Abhaile’ (Irish for ‘home’) will run online from 4 to 7 June. It aims to inform and support Irish emigrants considering or planning a return to Ireland and facilitate learning and connections between Irish organisations at home and abroad that assist returning Irish emigrants.

Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project Leader Sarah Owen said, “For over 35 years, we have supported Irish citizens and their families resettling in Ireland, focusing on those who are marginalised or in crisis. The ’emigrant’s ache’ is a constant pull back to Ireland for many abroad, yet not all returns are planned or by choice. Our services and those of our global Irish peers, backed by the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, provide a vital safety net. We offer information and support to people, help them make informed decisions, and secure their rights. We look forward to our upcoming Abhaile conference, which we hope will go some way to support, inform, and connect returning emigrants, and plan to make it a regular event highlighting return migration.”

Programme Highlights:

  • Tuesday, 4 June
    • Opening Keynote Address from Minister of State for the Department of Foreign Affairs (International Development and Diaspora) Sean Fleming, TD
  • Wednesday, 5 June
    • Coming Home: returnees James Parnell (A New Dawn in Ireland), Richard O’Gorman (#MoreBlacksMoreDogsMoreIrish), and Sarah Whelan (Irish Women Abroad / Socials by Sarah) reflect on their experiences and identities as returned Irish emigrants. Moderated by Dr. Sara Hannafin (Assistant Professor of Geography and Education, University of Limerick)
  • Thursday, 6 June
    • Navigating Crisis: representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs Consular Services, Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project, Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas, and Safe Home Ireland discuss their work supporting Irish citizens returning to Ireland in distress
  • Friday, 7 June
    • Back in Business: panel discussion on how returned Irish emigrants can rebuild their networks in Ireland and hit the professional ground running, featuring insights from Paula Fitzsimons (Back for Business), Ailbhe Mullen (Irish International Business Network), and Erin Whittle (FRS Recruitment). Moderated by Jack Stenson (Digital Irish)
  • Throughout the week:
    • Virtual clinics with Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project: one-to-one consultations with Client Support Officer Damian Kirwan on topics related to returning to Ireland, including access to statutory supports, supporting non-Irish family members through the Irish immigration process, and more
    • Digital resources related to returning to Ireland

This event is free and open to all – please join us for ‘Abhaile’ as we delve into the challenges and opportunities of returning to Ireland in the 21st century. For more information and to register for the events, please visit

This conference is possible thanks to the funding of the Government of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Programme.



Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project is a specialised service that empowers Ireland’s global diaspora communities at all stages of emigration. Established as a standalone project in 2022, the Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project provides information and advocacy support to Irish citizens leaving or returning to Ireland, especially those in vulnerable situations. Funded by the Government of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Programme and an initiative of Crosscare, the Project has assisted thousands of Irish people and their families since its inception in 1987.

To learn more, please visit