Emigrant Support Programme - FAQs
The Emigrant Support Programme prioritises projects which align with the objectives of the Government’s Diaspora Strategy 2020-2025, with a particular focus this year on Pillar 1 of the Strategy - “Our People”.
These would include new and innovative projects which protect the dignity, well-being and welfare of Irish emigrants, strengthen ties with our diaspora and reach out to engage with those who are less connected to our existing networks, including digital initiatives, new ways of building connections and support for the vulnerable.
We will also, of course, continue to welcome applications which align with any of the other pillars of the Strategy.
Applications must be made on-line at http://www.irishabroadgrants.ie which can also be accessed via the Department's website https://www.dfa.ie/global-irish/support-overseas/emigrant-support-programme/ and click the online application form link.
It is not possible to accept hard copy or emailed applications. Please make sure to read the guidelines for the application process before you apply. Every year the funding applied for is approximately double the funding available. Applications are prioritised based on how strongly they meet the criteria/objectives outlined.
Unsuccessful applicants should consider applying again in future rounds. Because of the large number of applications, it is not possible to provide a grant to all eligible and good organisations.
The application window for the Emigrant Support Programme will open on Wednesday, 18th January 2023 and will close at 5.30 pm (local time) on Wednesday, 15th February 2023. Please note that the deadline will be strictly applied and all information required must be fully uploaded by 15th February 2023. Incomplete applications cannot be accepted. Decisions are finalised over the summer of each year.
The ESP grant year runs from 1st July to 30th June. A six-monthly progress report is due by the 31st January 2023 from organisations that received funding in the 2022-23 Grant Round. A final progress report will be required in June 2023. These reports feed into the appraisal process, and organisations will not be eligible for further ESP funding until satisfactory reports have been submitted.
While each application is considered on its own merits, in general Emigrant Support Programme Funding cannot be used to fund:
- Artists’, performers’ or speakers’ fees, including travel and accommodation – professional or otherwise.
- Personal study or travel abroad.
- Repayments of loans or deficits.
- Party political activities.
- Commercially driven projects.
- Costs of attending Embassy or Consulate events.
- Purchase of prizes for raffles.
- Membership fees for other ESP-funded organisations.
- Purchase of vehicles.
- Private Pensions.
As a general guideline, applications must be made under the following categories:
Heritage: Projects that promote Irish heritage and identity overseas.
This includes but is not limited to:
- Irish arts, music and cultural programmes and festivals (venue hire, publicity and infrastructure costs).
- Projects that promote a greater sense of Irish identity.
- Cultural and heritage outreach projects to schools and community groups, in particular projects which engage first and subsequent generations Irish.
- Educational projects that promote Irish culture, heritage and identity.
Welfare (Elderly): Projects which are specifically targeted at supporting older members of the Irish community. This includes but is not limited to:
- Projects that will facilitate access to statutory and voluntary services in their country of residence for vulnerable Irish emigrants.
- Projects that provide frontline welfare services including advisory, counselling, mental health support, advocacy, information and outreach services.
- Projects that will improve the welfare and wellbeing of the more vulnerable members of our community, including older people, the Irish Traveller community and those with complex needs.
- Projects that will reduce the social isolation of older Irish people. ESP may provide funding towards the costs of regular lunch clubs for older Irish people (e.g. venue hire, food costs and possible contributions to transport costs for less able members). Applications for funding of the transport costs associated with occasional social outings will also be considered.
Welfare (Other): Projects involving the provision of front-line welfare services including advisory, counselling, information and outreach services. This includes but is not limited to:
- Projects that will help new Irish emigrants to integrate into their new community.
- Support for Irish communities in crisis situations in areas geographically removed from the nearest Embassy or Consulate.
- Research on the needs of the Irish emigrant community.
Business Networks: Projects that support, develop and foster Irish business, professional, community and arts networks overseas. This includes but is not limited to:
- Venue hire and publicity costs for networking events.
- Targeted Diaspora initiatives which clearly demonstrate the enhancement of links between Irish communities and Ireland to the benefit of both.
- Projects which the Irish Abroad Unit and/or the local Embassy/Consulate considers to have a positive impact on the community it seeks to serve or the reputation of Ireland in the region.
Capital: The construction, refurbishment or purchase of, capital assets which will benefit Irish communities abroad. Website and large digital/software projects are also included under this capital category.
Please note, capital funding allocated in each year will depend on the overall availability of funds and the priority of the projects submitted. As set out in the online application form, applications for capital funding must include a minimum of three quotations for the proposed body of work. Additionally, these applications should be accompanied by a detailed project plan, timeline and budget overview clearly demonstrating that a significant portion of the cost of the project has been secured from sources other than the ESP.
Capital funding is subject to additional conditions including the possible reimbursement of funding if an asset is sold within a designated timeframe.
Information on acceptable financial statements by gross annual income of organisation can be found at the following link: Financial Accounts - Department of Foreign Affairs (dfa.ie)
It is expected that Emigrant Support Programme funded organisations will have a diversity of funding sources to ensure the sustainability of the organisation. Having strong and diverse fundraising activities is one of the elements that we look for when considering funding for an organisation. In general our strong preference is for organisations not to be overly reliant on ESP funding.
It is not expected that Emigrant Support Programme funding would be granted to any activity or project that has been granted funds from another division of, or funding source within, the Department of Foreign Affairs. Similarly, when another Irish Government Department is funding an organisation, we will work with that Department to ensure there is no duplication of funding.
Capital funding allocated in each year will depend on the overall availability of funds and the priority of the projects submitted. As set out in the online application form, applications for capital funding must include a minimum of three quotations for the proposed body of work. Additionally, these applications should be accompanied by a detailed project plan, timeline and budget overview clearly demonstrating that a significant portion of the cost of the project has been secured from sources other than the ESP.
Capital funding is subject to additional conditions including the possible reimbursement of funding if an asset is sold within a designated timeframe.
Please note that websites and large digital/software projects are considered capital projects.
The Emigrant Support Programme will consider applications for contributions towards salaries and other recurring expenditure only in the context of a clearly defined project whose outcomes meet ESP objectives.
In general we avoid supporting 100% of given salary costs and while each application is considered on its own merits, we consider 80% funding of any given salary as an appropriate upper limit in most cases. Please note that private pension costs cannot be funded under ESP.
Emigrant Support Programme funding may only be spent on projects or activities which were applied for and approved. Similarly, funding must be spent on the supported project in the year of its allocation, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the programme.
Under no circumstances may funds be redirected to other activities without the prior written agreement of the Irish Abroad Unit in consultation with the relevant Embassy or Consulate. Failure to comply with this condition of funding may result in the Department requesting a refund of funds.
The exact dates in which ESP funding must be spent will be outlined in the Letter of Offer associated with a successful application. The grant year runs from 1st July to 30th June each year, and funds must be spent within this timeframe, and in accordance with the terms outlined in the Letter of Offer.
Applicants must agree to abide by the Emigrant Support Programme’s detailed terms and conditions, before funds can be released. Terms and conditions which apply to grant recipients are incorporated into the Letter of Offer associated with each grant. The terms are also available on the online application system.
Additional conditions may be attached to a specific grant for an organisation and these will be detailed in the Letter of Offer to a successful applicant. All terms and conditions must be strictly adhered to and failure to comply may require the repayment of awarded grants.
Funded organisations will be asked to provide narrative and financial reports outlining progress since the award of the grant and detailing how the grant has contributed to the achievement of some, or all, of the Emigrant Support Programme’s key objectives.
Narrative and financial reports must be completed using the templates provided by the Department and within the specified timescales. The reporting deadlines will be strictly applied and failure to provide required reports within the timelines will count against any future funding application. The organisation will not be eligible for further Emigrant Support Programme funding until satisfactory reports have been submitted.
We require financial information that clearly demonstrates that the awarded grant was received and that it was spent.
In all cases and in all financial reporting, funding received should be explicitly and separately acknowledged as: “Government of Ireland; Emigrant Support Programme”
In compliance with Circular 13/2014 of the Irish Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, audited financial statements or accounts submitted must:
- Show the amount (as per your Letter of Offer) and term (period) of the total grant (i.e. 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023 unless a different period is specified).
- Show the amount of the Emigrant Support Programme grant accounted for in the current financial statements. If that amount is less than the entire amount of the ESP grant you should indicate whether and how the use of the grant is restricted (i.e. is it for a particular project, or for the delivery of a particular service).
In addition, in line with the requirements set out in the abovementioned Circular, organisations are required to provide details of the number of employees whose total employee benefits (excluding employer pension costs) fall within each band of €10,000 from €60,000 upwards and an overall figure for total employer pension contributions. This requirement applies even if salaries are not being funded under the Emigrant Support Programme.
Yes, all organisations must not only acknowledge ESP funding in their financial accounts but must also display the Government of Ireland ESP logo on their website. The logo can be requested at any time from your nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate.
The Emigrant Support Programme monitors its policies and procedures to continuously improve how it disburses and monitors the use of public funds.
This quality control is vitally important to ensuring the best possible value for money and the long-term sustainability of the programme. Audits and evaluations have informed and guided the programme since its inception.
Audits may be undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs or through the services of independent auditors, to examine and make recommendations on how ESP funds were utilised and the value-for-money it represents, the partner organisations’ targeting of beneficiaries or services, the partner organisation’s governance structures, the appropriateness of the partner’s activities and possible ways in which their programming might be improved.
Regular assessments on the targeting of partners’ services and their use of ESP funds in the context of the evolving needs of the Irish abroad is necessary to ensure that the Emigrant Support Programme will continue to remain effective and fit for purpose. To increase efficiencies and impact, partner organisations in close geographical proximity may be encouraged to share information and or/services.
Where an organisation has used ESP funds inappropriately, has failed to use funds for the purposes for which they were granted or fails to satisfactorily report on how funds were utilised, the Department will take follow-up action, including the refund of grant funds.
Any personal information volunteered to the Department of Foreign Affairs as part of the grant application process will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, in accordance with the Data Protection Acts. The information provided will be used for evaluation purposes and to facilitate the administration of the Emigrant Support Programme. The Department of Foreign Affairs, as data controller, will store the information provided securely, fully respect its confidentiality, and the data will not be disclosed to any third party, save where this is necessary for evaluation for ESP administration purposes.
The grant applicant is responsible for ensuring that all data submitted as part of the application process is accurate and up to date. Under the terms of the Data Protection Acts, the applicant organisation has a right of access to personal data held by the Department of Foreign Affairs if the personal data retained by the Department is outdated or inaccurate, and has the right to rectify this data. The submission of an application form will be treated as confirmation that the Department may use the information supplied for the aforementioned purposes.
In this regard it should also be noted that the Department of Foreign Affairs is a designated body under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.
The local promotion of Gaelic games outside of Ireland is provided for under an agreement between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the GAA HQ. Emigrant Support Programme funds are provided for games development worldwide to the GAA through this partnership agreement. For more information contact your local county board.
Clubs who may have projects not covered under games development but relevant to the ESP objectives are also advised to contact their local Embassy or Consulate in the first instance.
In relation to welfare, while grant aid may primarily be given to Irish community welfare agencies providing front line advice services, some support may also be given to non-Irish welfare agencies providing a valuable service to significant numbers of Irish clients. Irish Government funding is intended to facilitate access to mainstream funding, rather than be the sole source of funding.