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Henry Healy, centre, with Obama and Moneygall pub owner Ollie Hayes. Carolyn Kaster/AP/Press Association Images

Obama's Moneygall cousin to work on connecting Ireland's global diaspora

Henry Healy “delighted” to join the Ireland Reaching Out campaign.

ONE OF THE PEOPLE central to Barack Obama’s visit to Ireland last year has accepted a new ‘ambassador’ role for Ireland’s global diaspora.

Henry Healy, the US president’s cousin, recently lost his bookkeeping position with a local plumbing company, which he had held since leaving college. The 27-year-old ruled out just one career path – politics – but said he was otherwise keeping an open mind on job opportunities.

Healy is now “delighted” to announce he has accepted a post as a Community Activation Leader with Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) campaign to connect Ireland’s scattered diaspora around the world.

“I believe in the power of the diaspora and the powerful and positive contribution it can make over the long term to Irish people, at home and abroad,” he said.

Ireland XO aims to work parish-by-parish around the country to connect parishes here with Ireland’s global diaspora and help people of Irish ancestry trace their descendants. The organisation is also working with the Gathering 2013 initiative to boost the number of people visiting Ireland next year, and it was one of this year’s Arthur Guinness Fund winners, receiving a €100,000 prize and business mentoring over the coming two years.

Healy’s role will see him working with parishes and parish groups around Ireland in the effort to reach out to the parishes’ diaspora – a job Ireland XO founder and chairman Mike Feerick says he is “perfect” for.

“What the community in Moneygall have done is an inspiration to every local Irish community, yet every Irish parish has both high and low profile connections around the world who are very interested in learning more about and becoming involved in the parishes of their ancestors,” Feerick said.

Henry Healy rules out a career in politics >

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