Community groups get funding boost


CEANN Creige Hurling and Camogie Club (above), Causeway: Ireland Scotland Business Exchange and Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú were among the Irish community organisations in Britain to secure funding from the Irish Government recently a part of its Emigrant Support Programme.

Since 1984, the Irish Government has given financial support to voluntary agencies providing advice and welfare services to Irish emigrants overseas. The Department of Foreign Affairs 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 frontline welfare service providers that support elderly Irish emigrants, and other vulnerable members of our communities worldwide. In recent years, the programme has also recognised the importance of strong and active Irish communities, funding projects which foster a sense of community, promoting vibrant networks and a sense of Irishness among the Irish abroad.

Almost £31million has been provided to organisations in Britain through the ESP over the past six years.

The Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Mr Colm Brophy TD, announced details of over £5 million in funding for the Irish community in Britain during a visit to London recently to meet with Irish community leaders.

The Minister thanked them for the vital work they have done to support the Irish in Britain— especially the most vulnerable—over the difficult period of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also announced the expansion of Ireland’s EU Digital Covid Travel Certificate to cover vaccinated Irish passport holders, resident in Britain.

The £5 million will assist 99 organisations across Britain and comes from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) which is run by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“I am delighted to be making my first visit abroad as Minister for the Diaspora to London to announce the Irish Government’s contribution from the Emigrant Support Programme to 99 Irish community organisations in Britain and to acknowledge the remarkable work of our diaspora over the past 18 months,” Minister Brophy, while making the announcement at the Irish Embassy in London, said. “While the greatest threat from the pandemic has passed, the year ahead will be challenging for all of our partner organisations as they rebuild their services and programme of activities.

“My visit is a demonstration of the Irish Government’s continued commitment to support their efforts over the period ahead.”

During his visit, Minister Brophy also addressed the inaugural event of a new UK and Ireland business network, which he described as ‘an important forum to foster our trading and business partnerships in the face of the ongoing challenges of Brexit.’

“The ties to our communities across Britain have been boosted with the re-opening of our Consulate in Wales and the opening of our new Consulate to the North of England in Manchester recently,” he added. “The funding which I am announcing will further support the strengthening of the relationship between Ireland and Britain.”

With regards to travel the Minister said: “The re-opening of travel between Britain and Ireland is especially welcome. We are already planning for the return of our diaspora this Christmas from Britain and elsewhere across the globe with a reiteration of our ‘To Be Irish at Christmas’ online platform and programme of events.

“The sacrifices and sadness of so many in our diaspora who have not been able to travel home to visit family and friends for so long is something I am deeply conscious of. For that reason, I am pleased to confirm the extension of Ireland’s Digital Covid Travel Certificate to include Irish Passport holders in the UK. This will facilitate travel across Europe for our British based diaspora.”