The Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) provides funding to non-profit organisations and projects to support our most vulnerable emigrants overseas, to strengthen Irish communities abroad and to facilitate the development of closer and more strategic links between Ireland and the global Irish.
The budget allocation for the programme in 2020 is €12.595 million and is a demonstration of the Government's commitment to our people abroad.
Earlier this year, as the scale of the impact of the pandemic on our Diaspora Communities became clear, the Government established a dedicated Covid-19 Response Fund to provide support for Irish Communities Abroad.The four main priorities of the Fund are to support projects that
- protect our elderly and mitigate the impact of social isolation;
- meet the needs of those made vulnerable by the crisis and respond quickly and effectively to cases of particular hardship;
- provide mental health supports and bereavement counselling;
- support innovative ways to provide services online. Projects are managed by our Mission network and are delivered through existing community welfare organisations and charities.My Department, through our Mission network, continues to engage with and support Irish community organisations and will continue to show flexibility in repurposing ESP funding should this be required.
I am delighted to note the additional allocation of €500,000 for the Emigrant Support Programme for 2021, which will bring the total budget for the 2021 programme to €13,095,000. This increase reinforces the importance of our communities abroad, central to Global Ireland: Ireland's Diaspora Strategy 2020-2025 which I launched last week and will allow us to respond to the increasing needs of our communities at this most challenging of times.