New funding for Irish Organisations in Britain15 July 2011
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Eamon Gilmore, T.D., announced the award of grants of over £6.3million (€6.98million) to 116 organisations in Britain under the Emigrant Support Programme.
Speaking today (15 July) to a gathering of Irish community organisations in London, where he is undertaking a series of engagements with Irish community groups, the Tánaiste stated that:
“These grants demonstrate the Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting the work of Irish organisations abroad, particularly those providing frontline services to the elderly and socially disadvantaged. The high quality of programmes delivered by these organisations makes a significant difference to the lives of Irish people in Britain. The focus of our funding in Britain remains on assisting the most vulnerable of our Diaspora. I am delighted that, given the many conflicting demands currently on the public purse, I was able to ensure that funding for frontline organisations was maintained close to 2010 levels.”
Since the establishment of the Emigrant Support Programme in 2004, over €65million has been allocated in support of Irish communities in Britain. Of the total amount announced by the Tánaiste, £5.2 million (€5.77m) will go to organisations providing welfare and information services, particularly to the elderly. These services range from informal community networking groups for seniors, to outreach services, and advice in accessing entitlements. The balance of the grants is provided for heritage, minor capital and community projects
Of the 116 organisations being funded, the largest recipients are the London Irish Centre (£502,353) and the Federation of Irish Societies (£529,601). Eighty seven organisations have received grants of under £60,000
During his visit, the Tánaiste visited a joint Department of Foreign Affairs/GAA project which promotes Gaelic games in Britain, met with the Southwark Irish Pensioners and called to the Irish Culture Centre in Hammersmith. He also met with the Federation of Irish Societies. Following the visit, the Tánaiste commented that
“I have stated on many occasions that I believe that our Diaspora is one of Ireland’s greatest assets and that our Government is commitment to further strengthening our relationship with the Irish overseas. I am delighted to have had the opportunity today to visit a number of the groups supported by my Department’s Emigrant Support Programme and to meet with the representatives of many of others. The visit enabled me to see for myself the valuable contribution these organisations make.”