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Global Irish Civic Forum: The Undocumented Irish


Global Irish Civic Forum: The Undocumented Irish

The Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Mr Joe McHugh, TD, hosted an important gathering on the undocumented Irish in the United States at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The event brought together leading figures working in the area and addressed a wide range of issues in relation to the undocumented.

A panel of contributors included:

  • Senator Billy Lawless;
  • Ms. Celine Kennelly: President of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers – San Francisco;
  • Mr. Ronnie Millar: Irish International Immigration Center – Boston;
  • Mr. Michael McMahon: Families of the undocumented in America;
  • Mr. Michael Lonergan: Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Ireland, Washington, DC.

The event was also attended by representatives of Irish immigration and support organisations funded through the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme and other  US-based groups including the Aisling Irish Community Centre (New York), the Emerald Isle Immigration Centre, the Irish Immigration Centre Philadelphia and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  It took place on the eve of the Global Irish Civic Forum, on 4 - 5 May in Dublin Castle.

Minister of State McHugh told the event he had met with undocumented Irish citizens and various immigrant support centres during recent visits to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, DC. 

He noted: ‘Bringing together the different groups most involved in supporting undocumented Irish citizens in the United States allows us to have a better understanding of the challenges they face, as well as the difficulties faced by their families at home.  By working together, we will continue to sensitise the US authorities – at Federal, State and municipal levels – to our concerns, and seek solutions for our citizens abroad.’

In his opening remarks, Minister of State McHugh announced an additional € 50,000 funding from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme budget for the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres, praising its work as ‘a vital service not only for our undocumented citizens, but also for all Irish people living and working in the United States.’


Press Office

03 May 2017

Note for Editors

There are an estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish living in the United States.

The Government continues to support organisations that deliver frontline advisory services and community care to Irish emigrants through the Emigrant Support Programme. More than 70% of the funds allocated through this programme are directed towards welfare services, including in support of Irish community welfare organisations in the U.S. In the last funding round for the Emigrant Support Programme, organisations in the U.S were allocated more than € 2.3 million in funding.