Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Questions (63)

Brendan Griffin


63. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his efforts to engage with and assist Irish emigrants in the UK who have fallen on hard times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15655/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is committed to providing support for Irish emigrants around the world. The emphasis of the Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) is on supporting culturally sensitive, frontline welfare services, targeted at the most vulnerable members of our overseas communities, with Britain being the focus of the greatest part of this support. These services have made a concrete difference to the lives of Irish communities overseas, reducing homelessness, tackling social isolation, and enabling Irish emigrants to access their statutory entitlements locally. Since 2003, the Emigrant Support Programme has provided more than €114 million in grants to Irish community and voluntary organisations, of which €86 million has been provided to more than 200 organisations in Britain. This funding has been directed primarily at frontline welfare services, working to support those made vulnerable by health, age or dislocation. In 2013 approximately 80% of the grants paid in Britain were made to organisations providing welfare and information services to the Irish community. The organisations funded provide a range of services from informal community networking groups for seniors, to outreach services and advice in accessing entitlements.

A substantial portion of ESP funding in Britain is provided to a number of organisations primarily focussed on helping those who have fallen on hard times by tackling the problems of homelessness and addiction. These include Ashford Place (formerly Cricklewood Homeless Concern), the Safe Start Foundation in Middlesex, the London Irish Centre, the Luton Irish Forum and the NOAH Enterprise (Luton) in the London area and Monica's Place in Birmingham amongst others.

Our support continues to evolve. For example, in 2013, a grant was made to Console, the suicide prevention and bereavement service, to assist with the start-up costs of their new operation in Britain. e introduction of services by Console around suicide prevention and suicide will complement services provided by other Irish organisations.