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Minister Deenihan announces funding to support Irish emigrants to Australia



Almost €415,000 will be granted to organisations across Australia this year to provide welfare services and support to Irish emigrants, Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., announced in Perth today.


Minister Deenihan is on a 10-day visit to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth to meet members of the Irish community and to lead an Enterprise Ireland trade mission. Today, he also officially opened the new Honorary Consulate for Western Australia, in Perth. The new Honorary Consul, Mr. Marty Kavanagh, will provide consular assistance to Irish citizens in Western Australia, in addition to information to Western Australians about Ireland.

The funding, which is being granted to 16 organisations who provide services to some of the 70,000 Irish-born people in Australia, is part of the Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Programme. As part of this programme, grants of €12.5 million will be provided this year to support the Irish community around the world.

Speaking from Perth, Minister Deenihan said:

“The funding will support frontline welfare organisations to help members of the Irish community, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable. Funding has also been made available to organisations that help foster Irish identity within our community. Of course, assistance to the most vulnerable would not be possible without the ongoing, dedicated work of the Irish Australian support bureaus and other organisations here in Australia. I thank you for your important work in supporting our community here.

“I also acknowledge the work being done by organisations to promote Irish culture and preserve our heritage in Australia. Australia is often dubbed ‘the most Irish country in the world outside of Ireland’ and the stories of successive Irish emigrants and their descendents form an important part of Australian history. In the 2011 census, nearly 2.1 million Australians indicated they had Irish ancestry. I am delighted that these grants will help to increase interest and understanding of that heritage and enhance our connections with the global Irish community.”

The largest single recipients in Australia are the Irish Australia Welfare Bureau and Resource Centre, Sydney (€119,492); the Irish Australian Support and Resource Bureau, Melbourne (€99,656) and the Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland (€58,946). Thanking all those delivering frontline services to the Irish community the Minister noted:

Minister Deenihan added:

“The announcement last month of €12.5 million in next year’s budget to support emigrants and engage with the diaspora worldwide is a significant achievement. It means we can maintain the level of Emigrant Support Programme funding and we have secured an additional €1 million for new diaspora projects and initiatives.

While in Perth, Minister Deenihan will also present a Certificate of Irish Heritage to Alan O’Meara, former President of the Irish Club of Western Australia. In Melbourne last Wednesday the Minister presented a Certificate to Marion O’Hagan, Administrator at the Irish Australian Support and Resource Bureau, Melbourne. Both have given long service to the Irish community in Australia.

The Minister remarked:

“The Certificate of Irish Heritage represents an important acknowledgment and appreciation by the Irish State of the strong and enduring connection to Ireland felt by descendents of previous generations of Irish citizens. As I presented the Certificates to Marion and Alan it brought home to me how much Irish heritage means to so many.”



Press Office,
23 November 2014


Note for Editors:

1. 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.

2. Emigrant Support Programme grants in Australia, 2014-15



Ballarat and District Irish Club 7,500
Canberra Irish Club 11,000
Irish Australian Association South Australia 10,000
Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Inc. 25,000
Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland 85,000 
Irish Australian Support & Resource Bureau, Melbourne 142,000 
Irish Australian Welfare Bureau & Resource Centre NSW  172,570 
Irish Club Western Australian  32,000 
Irish Families in Perth  2,510 
Irish Language Association of Australia  2,000 
Irish Language School Sydney - Scoil na Gaeilge Sydney 2,000 
Melbourne Irish Festival  2,000 
St. Patrick's Day Parade Association Inc. Brisbane  7,500 
St. Patrick's Day WA Inc  10,000 
Sydney St. Patrick's Day Parade Organisation Inc.  65,000 
The Claddagh Association, Perth  14,500 

The 2014 grants were an increase of over AUS$20,000 on ESP grants to Australia in 2013 and marked an increase of over AUS$100,000 on 2012 grants.

3. Certificate of Irish Heritage

The Certificate of Irish Heritage was introduced in 2011 to recognise descendents of previous generations of Irish citizens in an official way and give greater practical expression to the sense of Irish identity felt by many around the world. The scheme is operated by FEXCO on behalf of the Department.

4. Honorary Consuls

Honorary Consuls are appointed to provide a range of consular services, either in countries without an Irish Embassy or in regions of a particular country which are far from the Irish Embassy. The position of an Honorary Consul is an honorary one, unsalaried and non-pensionable.

5. Striving and Surviving in Australia Guide

The ‘Striving and Surviving in Australia Guide’ was developed by the GAA’s Community & Health section in Croke Park following extensive consultation via questionnaire with members in their Australasian club network. The accompanying wallet card aims to highlight key issues you should be aware of if travelling through or moving to Australia. It includes top tips from Irish people who have already gone through this experience as well as links to social media sites and other services designed to support the Irish in Australia. All GAA members applying for an international transfer to Australia will be given a copy while all clubs in Australia will be issued with a digital version of the resource for distribution amongst all members and the local Irish community.