It could soon be easier for Irish-Americans aged between 55 and 75 to retire or work in Ireland, under proposals being 'rebooted' by a Government TD.
The scheme was previously proposed back in 2018, but The Irish Times reports that former Fine Gael minister Charlie Flanagan is now set to raise the issue again in the Dáil this week.
The scheme - which would give older Americans with a proven connection to Ireland the right to live and work here - was initially intended as a 'quid pro quo' for a US E3 Visa Bill.
However, efforts to pass that bill - which would see thousands of US visas open to Irish citizens every year - have repeatedly stalled in the US Congress.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said back in 2018 that any 'reciprocal' scheme from the Irish Government would be dependent on the visa bill being passed in the US.
Despite that, Deputy Flanagan now wants the Government here to push ahead with the Irish-American retirement scheme unilaterally.
On Newstalk Breakfast, Larry Donnelly - law lecturer in NUIG - said the scheme would be very welcome.
He said: "I think it’s a good move.
“There are lots of Irish-Americans who’d like to live in Ireland. Every time I go home to Boston one of the things people say is ‘I’m so jealous… I’d love to do something like that’ but for a variety of different reasons they can’t.
“What Charlie Flanagan is putting on the table here is welcome - it would make it easier for that to happen.”
Larry said while efforts to help the 'undocumented Irish' have stalled in the US Congress, Irish-Americans are continuing to campaign on behalf of Irish people 'living in the shadows' in the States.
He even suggested pushing ahead with the retirement scheme here could be beneficial in terms of those efforts.
He said: “The idea is if we signal it’s a two-way street, it may help our efforts. I think it’s worth a try.
“We need to look at the big picture here. The reality is that the ties that have already nurtured the bond between the US and Ireland are starting to fray. Initiatives like this can help.”
He stressed that Americans would need to have “reasonably substantial” assets to move here, which would reduce the risk of any extra burden on stretched Irish health or social welfare services.
The Irish Times reports that the 'bespoke' scheme would lower the income requirements for retirement age Irish-Americans who wish to live in Ireland from €50,000 to €40,000 a year, as well as lowering "the net asset threshold from €200,000 to €100,000".