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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 4 May 1995

Vol. 452 No. 4

Written Answers. - Irish Welfare Organisations Grant Aid.

Liz O'Donnell


21 Ms O'Donnell asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the steps. If any, the State is taking to relieve, assist and counsel homeless young Irish people who have emigrated to Great Britain in search of work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6733/95]

The Government recognises that a minority of Irish people in Britain encounter severe difficulties either on arrival or at a later stage. To assist them, there is a scheme of Government grant aid to Irish welfare organisations in Britain. These grants are made by me on the basis of recommendations submitted by DÍON, the Advisory Committee on the Irish Community in Britain. The DÍON committee, which was set up in 1984, comprises eight members, six of whom are based in Britain, and they consider applications for funding received from a large number of Irish welfare organisations in Britain.

I met with the members of the DÍON committee on 27 February, 1995 and they explained to me the problems encountered by Irish immigrants in Britain and particularly the difficulties experienced by the homeless.

In the 1994 allocation of DÍON grants, 12 organisations which received funding concentrate primarily on the needs of the homeless, mainly through day-centres or through direct provision of accommodation. There are four Irish housing associations in London providing accommodation to single people and families and all of these have received grant aid from the Irish Government for research or advice work.

The main purpose of the DÍON grants is to support salary costs for professional workers in voluntary organisations in Britain to assist both young new arrivals and older longer-established Irish people in Britain. The actual provision of accommodation is essentially a matter for the relevant authorities in the host country. However, various studies carried out have shown that the Irish in Britain are substantially over-represented amongst both those who are street-homeless and those who must avail themselves of temporary and hostel accommodation.
£500,000 has been allocated to the DÍON committee in 1995 and the DÍON committee will soon be submitting its recommendations for the 1995 grants to me. I will be attending a reception in London on 28 June 1995 where I will be announcing my decisions. A significant number of applicants currently under the consideration by the DÍON for the 1995 grants concentrate primarily on the needs of the homeless.