Minister Leo Varadkar launches The Gathering

LOCAL Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington has called on the people of West Cork to get behind what will be the biggest tourism initiative ever held in Ireland, The Gathering 2013, the aim of which is to reach out to the 70 million strong global Irish family and encourage them to play a part in Ireland’s recovery.

“Next year will see the biggest tourism event in Irish history taking place; a yearlong event celebrating Ireland and its people, here and abroad, and the bond that unites us together. The aim of the Gathering is to reach out to the Irish diaspora and to bring 325,000 extra visitors home.

The Gathering will comprise a series of already well-established but enhanced festivals, such as the New Year’s Eve and St Patrick’s Festivals taking place.

A number of new events will also be held to celebrate Irish food, our rich sporting culture and Riverdance with the launch of John McColgan and Moya Doherty’s new show.

“Encouraging more visitors to Ireland will act as a massive boost to the economy and will help us further along the road to recovery; but we all must play our part,” he said.

The Beara TD added, “For the initiative to be a success every community, every town and every village needs to get involved.

“By organising local family, school, cultural, sporting or musical gatherings and asking overseas friends and relatives to come home we can make 2013 not only a record year for tourism but for reconnecting Ireland and her people.”