Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Questions (53)

Fiona O'Loughlin


53. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the implementation of the recommendations in the report on addressing barriers faced by returning Irish emigrants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46381/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Indecon Economic Report on Addressing Challenges Faced by Returning Irish Emigrants made thirty recommendations. These covered a wide range of Government activities, including housing; registration of driving licences; easing access to motor insurance; information on, and access to, employment opportunities in Ireland; improving the recognition of academic and professional qualifications; access to the Irish banking and mortgage markets; health insurance; information on childcare costs; availability of school places; the introduction of a means-test grant for the children of Irish emigrants and investment by development agencies to support returnees. Twenty of these have been addressed. Of the remaining 10 areas, 8 have been partially addressed or are pending further policy development. Two recommendations were not accepted.

Among the recommendations that have been addressed most recently is the development of a single-window information service for returning Irish emigrants. This service, which was initially developed by my Department, is now operated by the Citizens Information Board with support from my Department. Discussions between my Department and the Citizen's Information Board about further strengthening this resource and targeting the information provided more closely to the identified needs of returnees are currently underway. We know from data provided by the Board that this service draws high levels of individual user attention, underlining the importance of this resource to returning citizens, as well as their family networks in Ireland, allowing returning Irish emigrants to plan more effectively for their move back home.

Another programme which my Department has put in place is the Back for Business programme, which is now entering its third year, which supports enterpreneurship among returning emigrants. This has been very successful and was launched yesterday with the support of Minister of State Cannon.

The Interdepartmental Committee on the Irish Abroad, at its meeting in November 2019, reviewed progress made to date in addressing the recommendations contained in the Indecon Report. Minister of State Cannon, who chaired the meeting, noted that some concerns remain to be addressed. A report of the progress made to date will be submitted to the Government shortly.