Minister Deenihan to join Pieta House’s Darkness into Light 5k Walk in the Bronx06 May 2015
Minister for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, today (Wednesday) begins a programme of Irish community events in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut during which he will join Pieta House’s Darkness into Light 5k Walk in the Bronx. The work of Pieta House is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through our Emigrant Support Programme.
In New York, the Minister will also be guest of honour at the New York launch of Drew University’s Transatlantic Connections 2 conference. The conference will take place in Bundoran, Co. Donegal in January 2016.
The Minister will then travel to Hamden, Connecticut, to visit Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum and Institute at Quinnipiac University. The University is currently exhibiting “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger”, which explores the little-known story of the Grey Nuns of Montreal, who provided care and shelter to tens of thousands of Irish immigrants during the Great Famine.
On Saturday, the Minister will visit the Bronx to participate in Pieta House’s Darkness into Light 5k Walk. The Walk aims to raise awareness of suicide, self-harm, and other mental health issues.
Speaking ahead of the walk, the Minister said:
“Darkness into Light walks take place in more than 80 locations across Ireland and internationally and I’m thrilled to take place in this, the first New York walk. Thanks to funding under the Emigrant Support Programme from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pieta House is working with the GAA and a number of other local community organisations to provide counselling and suicide prevention services to the Irish community in New York.”
Minister Deenihan will also travel to Parsippany, New Jersey for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann’s annual North American Convention and Fleadh. The Convention brings together the best of Irish traditional music, dance and arts in North America. The Minister will have the opportunity to view The Sligo Masters, the story of three of the greatest fiddle players ever to grace the traditional Irish Music stage: Michael Coleman, Paddy Killoran and James Morrison.
Speaking from the United States, the Minister said:
“Irish music, and culture more generally, is one of the most effective ways of connecting our diaspora, strengthening their links to home and maintaining expressions of Irish identity through generations. I am delighted to support Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann through the Emigrant Support Programme. Their work will ensure that Irish music will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Finally, the Minister will attend a business brunch hosted by Irish Network New Jersey. IN-NJ connects Irish, Irish Americans and ‘friends of Ireland’ across New Jersey through business, arts, sport, and social activities.
Earlier in the week, Minister Deenihan visited Newfoundland, Canada.
6 May 2015
Notes to Editors:
• The Great Hunger Museum and Institute at Quinnipiac University is home to the world’s largest collection of visual art, artefacts and printed materials relating to the Great Famine. The University’s library building is currently exhibiting “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger”, which explores the little-known story of the Grey Nuns of Montreal, who provided care and shelter to tens of thousands of Irish immigrants during the Great Famine.
• 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.
• Pieta House received a grant of €72,258 to provide counselling and suicide prevention services to the Irish community in New York. The grant will allow Pieta House 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. 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.