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Minister Deenihan announces Mental Health Funding for New York Irish


Minister for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., today announced more than €72,000 in funding to provide counselling and suicide prevention services to the Irish community in New York.


Pieta House will receive a grant of €72,258 to extend their crisis services for those considering suicide and self harm to the United States.

The funding will enable Pieta House to set up a pilot programme with the three main Irish centres in New York: the Aisling Center, the New York Irish Center and the Emerald Isle Immigration Center. This will include establishing a “Pieta Room” in the New York Irish Center as the main point of referral for Irish people in crisis in the New York area. Funding will also support the training of counsellors and counselling services.

Making the announcement at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children Minister Deenihan noted: “The mental health and wellbeing of our emigrants is an issue that has come up during the consultation process for our diaspora policy review and also in the recent UCD Clinton Institute report on the Emigrant Support Programme. I want to respond to the concerns raised and I believe that programme will prove a valuable resource for those in need of care, support and advice.”

In addition, Pieta House will work in partnership with the GAA to deliver the Mind Ur Buddy Programme to GAA members in New York. Mind Ur Buddy is a peer support programme designed to help individuals spot when a colleague or teammate may be in suicidal crisis. Pieta House aims to train 500 GAA members in New York.

Colin Regan, GAA Community & Health Manager, noted “The important support network provided by GAA clubs to their members abroad is well documented. Having recently launched our Striving & Surviving in Australia resource at the International Rules game in Perth we are pleased to see Pieta House making available the Mind Ur Buddy programme to GAA members in New York."

Paul Finnegan, Executive Director of the New York Irish Center, which will host the first Pieta room outside Ireland said: “This is a timely development, given the increasing emotional difficulties being faced by Irish emigrants in a tough and lonely environment, where there is often little hope, especially among the undocumented. We therefore applaud the extensive and continued concern and support the Government has for its citizens abroad.”

Echoing this, Siobhan Dennehy, Executive Director of The Emerald Isle Immigration Center, said: “We look forward to having our social services team avail of Pieta House’s training, expertise and progress in this arena. This issue has touched the lives of many in our community directly and we applaud the attention the newly appointed Minister for the Diaspora has given to this issue by taking such swift action.”

Also speaking from New York, Orla Kelleher of the Aisling Center said: “We look forward to collaborating with them in providing much needed counselling services to the Irish immigrant communities.”




Press Office
11 December 2014



Notes for Editors:

  • Emigrant Support Programme: Since 1984, the Irish Government has given financial support through its Emigrant Support Programme to voluntary agencies providing advice and welfare services to Irish emigrants overseas. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade working through Ireland’s Embassy Network coordinates the provision of support to communities abroad and administers the programme. The main focus for funding under the Emigrant Support Programme remains the frontline welfare service providers that support the elderly, and other vulnerable Irish emigrants. In more recent years the programme has also recognised the importance of strong and active Irish communities more generally, funding projects which foster a sense of community, promoting vibrant networks and a sense of Irishness among the Irish abroad.