Written Answers. - Emigrant Support.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

43 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps, if any, he is taking to safeguard the interests of Irish emigrants. [8227/98]

Through the embassies and consulates and the Interdepartmental Committee on Emigration the Government monitors developments affecting the interests of emigrants and, when particular problems or issues arise, we take appropriate action such as making our views known to other Governments or to people of influence in the countries concerned.

Our embassies co-operate closely with the many organisations catering for the needs of Irish communities abroad and, when required, give as much advice and consular assistance as possible to emigrants. Voluntary groups which provide assistance to Irish emigrants in the United States and Australia receive financial support from the Vote for Foreign Affairs. There is a provision of £169,000 for that purpose this year. Similar support for voluntary organisations providing advice and help to Irish emigrants in Britain is available from the Vote for Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the recommendation of the London-based DÍON committee. The amount available for such grants this year is £613,000. The Departments and Government agencies with responsibility for matters relating to emigrants and emigration are represented on the Interdepartmental Committee on Emigration which is chaired by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Developments affecting Irish emigrants are monitored by the committee which also seeks to co-ordinate the activities of the Departments and agencies represented on it.