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Donegal Diaspora drive hits London 26.11.07

A DRIVE to regenerate the North West by tapping into the skills of local people working abroad moves to London this week.
The Derry Donegal Diaspora project will have its British launch in the City on Thursday and will be attended by key players in the public and private sector, education, Government and other agencies.
Irish Business and Employers' Confederation (IBEC) NW regional director Pádraig O’Grady said the project was "a necessary part of our economic development".
“It is enabling people to join a network linking them to jobs and business back home, and allows us to tap into the huge resource which our Diaspora represents," he said.
Diaspora project co-ordinator Aeidín McCarter said the London event follows a very successful Dublin launch.
"People immediately understood the value of our network and wanted to sign up, so we are optimistic that this will also be the case in London, as so many of our emigrants are based there,” she said.
The London launch will be addressed by Donegal-born Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority and of the Derry urban regeneration body, ILEX. The Director of Innovation at the University of Ulster, Tim Brundle, will also address the event about cutting edge research at the UU's Magee campus that has commercial potential for the region.
Meanwhile, the IBEC regional director said business and employment opportunities in the North West were at an "all time high".
Figures from the Donegal Local Development Company show that more than 2,000 new micro-businesses were set up in the region in the last ten years, creating over 3,500 jobs.
“Despite major job losses, from an economic and business point of view we are very much healthier than we were ten years ago,” said Mr. O’Grady. “What is amazing is the spirit of people here - they are not waiting for someone to help them, they are getting on with it themselves and this is boosting business start-ups.”
The Diaspora project is part of the wider economic programme - Ireland North West - Making Business Happen - aimed at fostering growth and co-operation between the two jurisdictions. The North West Region Cross Border Group’s INTERREG IIIA Partnership, provided €790,000 to the project through the European Union’s INTERREG fund.
Its chairperson Christina Mullan said the group was delighted to fund a project uniting agencies across the border and which "reaches out in such a concrete way to draw our Diaspora into the North West economy”.
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