A sum of £500,000 has been included in my Department's Vote for 1991 for the payment of grants to voluntary organisations providing services for emigrants in Britain.
In 1989, when it became evident that there was an increase in the numbers going abroad, the allocation for grant assistance was doubled, from £250,000 in 1988 to £500,000. The figure was maintained at that level in 1990 even though net outward migration in the year to April 1990, had declined by 15,000. The indications since then suggest that the figure for the year ending April 1991 and for the remainder of the year will show a further significant decline.
Despite the very difficult Exchequer situation, I am satisfied that the Government have demonstrated their concern for the welfare of emigrants by maintaining the allocation for grant assistance at £500,000 for the third successive year, bearing in mind that the level of net emigration will have declined to around half of what it was two years ago.
I have no doubt that DÍON, the advisory committee on emigrant welfare services, who make recommendations to me on the allocation of State assistance, will also bear the changing circumstances in mind in determining their priorities for grant assistance this year.
Finally, I should like to take this opportunity to stress, once again, the vital importance of adequate advance preparation by intending emigrants so as to minimise the risk of encountering subsequent difficulties abroad. FÁS provide a pre-departure advice and information service which should be made use of. Young persons going to London, in particular, should ensure that they have accommodation and employment arranged beforehand.
My advice to those who do not have the educational qualifications skills or financial and other resources which would ensure a reasonable chance of success, is that they should not emigrate.