Minister Ahern reiterates support for the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform campaign and the activities of Irish Immigration Centres in the U.S.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D., met with representatives from the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) in New York today to discuss the ongoing campaign on behalf of Irish undocumented in the United States. Speaking after the meeting the Minister said :
“I would like to reiterate the strong support of the Government for the campaign of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform on behalf of the Irish undocumented in the United States. The plight of the undocumented gets harder by the day and the ILIR campaign has undoubtedly already had a strong impact in Congress and beyond. The Government will remain actively involved in representing the concerns of the undocumented in the crucial period ahead.”
Minister Ahern also met with representatives from Irish immigration centers in New York yesterday evening to discuss their work programmes for the year ahead. These organisations are engaged in the provision of support and advisory services that are accessed directly by Irish emigrants. The meeting follows an announcement by the Minister in July of grants from the Irish Government totaling US$1.183m (€919,374) for 14 Irish community organisations in the US in 2006.
During the meeting with the centers the Minister spoke warmly about their work.
“The services offered by the Irish immigration centers are critical, particularly for the more vulnerable members of our communities here. I welcome the ongoing focus on supporting community networks and the development of services for older Irish people in this country. The work that the centers undertake to respond to the particular difficulties encountered by the undocumented in their communities is also of key importance”.
Note for Editors
The Minister met with representatives from the following Immigration organisations in New York yesterday :
- Emerald Isle Immigration Centre
- Aisling Centre
- Irish Immigration and Pastoral Centre, Philadelphia
- New York Irish Centre
- Project Irish Outreach
- Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres
The grants to the Irish immigration centres announced by Minister Ahern in July total US$1,183,050 (€919,000). This represents an increase of 29% on the amount distributed in 2005 (US$915,000). It is close to double the amount disbursed in 2004 (US$653,242) and more than three-times the funding available in 2003 (US$356,000).
Since 1990 the Department of Foreign Affairs has allocated over US$6.8 million to the Irish Immigration Centres in the United States.
Funding supports the delivery of advice and information to Irish emigrants in the US. Particular priority is attached to supporting the work of the front line community organisations engaged with vulnerable Irish citizens, including undocumented Irish people. Further information on the work of the immigration centres may be obtained from the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 00-617-9870193) or directly from the centres concerned.
Overall, Government funding for emigrant services continues to rise significantly. In 2006 Department of Foreign Affairs funding in this area has reached €12 million, representing an increase of 45% on 2005. Most of this allocation is directed to groups in Britain, with the rest directed to groups in the US, Australia and elsewhere.
27 September 2006