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Minister Brophy announces over £5 million in support to Irish Community Organisations across Britain

·      Expansion of EU Digital Covid Travel Certificate to Irish passport holders resident in Britain

·      Over £5 million in grants provided to 99 organisations in Britain. Please see a list of organisations awarded funding in the 2021-2022 Grant Round

·      Grants focussed on providing frontline welfare assistance and to support organisations rebuilding their services post-COVID

·      Funds going to organisations supporting British based survivors of the Mother-and-Baby Homes

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

The Minister 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 all across Britain and comes from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) which is run by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Making the announcement at the Irish Embassy in London Minister Brophy said:

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.”

“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.”

“In addition to the traditional project supports, I am particularly glad to be able to make a contribution to those organisations that work with survivors of the Mother-and-baby homes resident in Britain. This new funding is in addition to that being considered in the broader redress scheme.”

On British Irish relations the Minister said:

“Despite current political uncertainties, our relationship with Britain remains strong.”

“During my visit I will also be addressing the inaugural event of a new UK & Ireland business network.  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 only a few days ago.”

 “The funding which I am announcing today will further support the strengthening of the relationship between Ireland and Britain.”

On 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.”

Note for Editors on the Emigrant Support Programme

Global Ireland: Ireland Diaspora Strategy 2020-2025 sets out what the Government will do over the next five years to support and engage with our diaspora communities around the world. The Emigrant Support Programme remains central to this commitment.

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 more 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.

In 2021, the budget for the Emigrant Support Programme is €13,095,000. The Emigrant Support Programme funding year runs from 1 July – 30 June. Particular priorities for this year included an emphasis on supporting organisations rebuilding their services post pandemic, as well as seeking to reach out to under-represented groups amongst our diaspora. Further details can be found on www.dfa.ie

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

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