Ireland Reaching Out is delighted to announce Tim Lee as Ireland XO Volunteer of the Year for 2015.
Tim is the local diaspora contact for Bournea in County Tipperary and one of more than 500 active volunteers all over Ireland who are connecting people of Irish ancestry to their parish of origin every day.
Tim has been a volunteer with Ireland XO since June 2013. He lives in Bournea and is chairperson of the local Ireland Reaching Out group. Their main activities involve researching descendants of past emigrants, welcoming diaspora back into the parish, preserving the local heritage and publishing the annual Reaching Out book which is a collection of stories about the parish, past and present.
Runner-up Tom Hussey has been a volunteer with Ireland XO for two years and is very active answering message and queries on the Ireland XO Message Board.
He is passionate about helping people find out more about their Cahir and Ballylooby ancestors. The information provided by him reflects his knowledge of the history, geography and folklore of the area.
Tim established the Bournea Ireland Reaching Out group in 2013 and since then they have been highly successful in connecting their parish with its global diaspora.
Through the Ireland Reaching Out website (www.IrelandXO.com), they discover where descendants of past emigrants from the locality are now living, helping them fill in the gaps about their Irish family history and giving them a warm welcome, should they decide to visit the parish.
Monthly meetings are held to discover and preserve the heritage of the area, and also to compile their annual book which is a treasury of insightful stories about Bournea parish and its people.
Congratulating Tim Lee on his achievement, Mike Feerick of Ireland Reaching Out said “There is a wealth of information about our Irish heritage that is intrinsically local and can only be accessed by those closest to the area. All over the country, Ireland XO volunteers like Tim Lee are making invaluable contributions to their local communities, both by deepening the relationship with their local heritage and also by enabling them to engage with their wider global diapora.”
Carmel O’Callaghan from County Cavan and Thomas Hussey from County Tipperary were voted as Runner-ups in the annual Ireland XO volunteer awards.
Minister for Diaspora Affairs T.D. Jimmy Deenihan presented them with their awards in the National Library of Ireland, the heart of Irish genealogical research and a long-standing partner of the Ireland Reaching Out programme.
Thanking Carmel and Thomas for their work with the programme, Minister Deenihan said "Ireland Reaching Out is a key feature of the recently launched Diaspora Toolkit which aims to enable all local communities to engage with their global diaspora. Volunteers like Tom and Carmel are a vital connection to people all over the world who are interested in discovering more about their Irish heritage but have no direct access to the communities or origin of their ancestors.”
Ireland Reaching Out is proud to have a fantastic team of Volunteers, who are responsible for activating their local parishes, reaching out to the diaspora who are researching their origins and, most importantly, ensuring that every returning member of the Irish diaspora is greeted with a Cead Mile Failte. Ireland Reaching Out would like to extend a congratulations to Tim, Carmel and Thomas and also a huge “Thank You” to all of its Volunteers for their work in 2015.
Anyone interested in helping their local community connect with its global diaspora is invited to visit www.IrelandXO.com for more information about volunteering with the Ireland Reaching Out programme.