The Innisfree Fund was established to provide vacations in Ireland for the families of fire fighters and police officers who were killed in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. The Fund has been set up by the US-Ireland Alliance with the aim of raising $1.6 million (1.75 million euros), to cover the cost of vacations for more than 300 families.
The families of the fallen heroes will be invited to visit various parts of Ireland for a week of their choosing over the next two years.
Trina Vargo, President of the US-Ireland Alliance, said that given the outpouring of support and solidarity in Ireland following the September 11 attacks, the Alliance wished to offer people a practical and tangible way of expressing those sentiments.
"There has been a long and distinguished history of Irish Americans serving in New York's fire and police departments," said Vargo.
"While that tie was the impetus for this initiative, our members felt strongly that the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland would want to honor the families of all these fallen heroes. This invitation will therefore be extended to all the families of the fire fighters and police, not just the Irish-Americans."
Meanwhile, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern has given the Government's full support for the project.
"I believe this initiative by the US-Ireland Alliance gives the people of this island a way to show their support for these heroes' families in a meaningful way," he said.
"The Government looks forward to being of any assistance to this worthy endeavor."
The US-Ireland Alliance is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose stated aim is to strengthen ties between the United States and the island of Ireland. The organization is responsible for organizing the George J. Mitchell Scholarship scheme, which brings American college students to study at universities throughout Ireland.