Strengthening connections with Irish communities abroad and promoting links with Irish people and people of Irish ancestry worldwide is a key objective of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, writes Irish Vice Consul Lisa Marie Joyce.
These communities are made up of Irish emigrants, their descendants, those living abroad who share and celebrate an Irish heritage identity and global links with Ireland. Central to achieving this objective is the Irish Government Emigrant Support Programme, which is administered by the Irish Abroad Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin, in partnership with Irish Embassies and Consulates abroad.
The Emigrant Support Programme is a tangible expression of the Irish Government’s support of, commitment to, and interest in, the global Irish community. Our vision is a vibrant, diverse global Irish community, connected to Ireland and to each other. Applications for the 2019 Emigrant Support Programme grant round opened on Wednesday, 16th January 2019 and the closing date for applications is Wednesday, 20th February 2019.
The Government of Ireland, through the Emigrant Support Programme (ESP), provides funding to non-profit organisations which support and connect the Irish community in Britain. The ESP provides financial support to organisations engaged in the delivery of advisory services and community care to Irish emigrants, to cultural and heritage projects, as well as to strategic capital projects. Since its inception in 2004, the ESP has assisted over 530 organisations in 36 countries with grants totalling over €170 million. Grants have ranged from small amounts for grass-roots groups, to major allocations awarded to voluntary and community organisations operating on a large scale. In 2018 alone, there were over 490 applications from more than 20 countries requesting over €21 million in funding from the Programme’s €11.6 million budget.
The Emigrant Support Programme funds welfare projects which address the diverse and evolving needs of Irish emigrants, especially the elderly, disadvantaged and vulnerable, for example projects which address social isolation and aim to improve the physical and mental health of older Irish people. The ESP also supports projects which celebrate and strengthen the links between Ireland and the Global Irish community, projects which support business networks to connect Irish people to each other at home and abroad, and research projects on the emerging needs of Irish communities abroad.
The Emigrant Support Programme continues to encourage intergenerational projects in 2019 and we are particularly interested in supporting projects which promote collaboration between older and younger members of Irish communities. In 2019, we are very supportive of collaborative projects and encourage organisations to work together to address an identified need or opportunity. The Irish Government remains committed to supporting projects that are reflective of diversity within the Irish diaspora and Irish communities and supportive of new emigrants.
Applications for the 2019 grant round are now open via www.irishabroadgrants.ie. Applications must be made online, and hard copy applications will not be accepted. The closing time and date for applications is 5.30pm on Wednesday, 20th February 2019. This closing date and time will be strictly applied and under no circumstances will applications be accepted after 5.30pm on 20th February 2019.
Applications are particularly welcome from organisations that have not applied before and/or new projects in geographic areas not previously assisted. Further information about the Emigrant Support Programme and how to apply for funding is available on the Embassy of Ireland website www.embassyofireland.co.uk or by logging on directly to website www.dfa.ie/global-irish/support-overseas/emigrant-support-programme/. Information is also available by contacting the Irish Community Unit, Embassy of Ireland, at 0207 201 1124.
We look forward to working with you in 2019 to deliver tangible benefits for the Irish community in Scotland.
Lisa Marie Joyce
The Consulate General of Ireland, Edinburgh