The Task Force on Policy regarding Emigrants, which was established in December 2001, was asked to recommend a coherent long-term policy approach to meeting the needs of emigrants, focusing especially on the needs of the young and vulnerable in the three areas of pre-departure services, services for emigrants overseas and services to returning emigrants. The task force held its first meeting on 12 December 2001 and has held eight further meetings since then.
The task force has attached considerable importance to consulting with organisations and individuals involved in the field of emigration to ensure that anyone who wished to contribute to its work was able to do so. A notice was placed in the national papers and in the Irish papers in Britain, the United States and Australia inviting submissions from the public. Approximately 100 responses were received. A further 39 reports were received from Irish Missions abroad detailing the number and situation of Irish emigrants in their countries of accreditation.
Members of the task force visited the United States, Australia and Britain earlier this year to meet with voluntary organisations and individuals providing services to Irish emigrants in these countries. The drafting of the task force's report is now in its final stages and I expect to receive it the near future.