Cowen announces €3.26 million in grants for emigrant services in Britain; €1 million extra in emigrant funding for 2004; New Unit to deal with emigrant issues
Mr Brian Cowen, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs, today announced details of grants totaling €3.26 million for organisations working with less advantaged members of the Irish community in Britain, under the Díon scheme.
Speaking at the Irish Embassy in London, where he met with representatives of many of the organisations in receipt of Díon grants, the Minister said, “the Irish Government is proud of the work that you do, and proud to be helping you to do it. I know that this partnership between us can only grow in strength and effectiveness over the coming period”
Additional funding for emigrant services Minister Cowen announced an extra €1 million for emigrant services this year; total funding this year represents an increase of two thirds on 2003.
“I have now allocated an additional €1 million from my Department’s budget for emigrant services this year. The bulk of these funds will be reserved for disbursement by the Díon Fund in a second tranche later in the year. This will bring the total assistance provided for emigrant services by my Department this year to €5 million, an increase of two thirds on last year”.
New Unit to deal with emigration issues In London, Minister Cowen told emigrant groups that, in the autumn, a new Unit will be set up in the Department of Foreign Affairs to work exclusively on emigration issues.
“From September, a new Dedicated Unit will be established in the Department of Foreign Affairs to coordinate the provision of assistance to our emigrants, and to work intensively with Government Departments and voluntary agencies to advance the Task Force’s Report. Our Ambassador in Estonia, Seán Farrell – who has personal and direct experience of emigration, having himself grown up just outside Manchester – will be returning to head up the Unit.
I am very confident that this Dedicated Unit will introduce a new dynamic into our collective effort to advance this important area of national policy.”
The full text of Minister Cowen’s remarks is also available at www.foreignaffairs.gov.ie
The grants announced today will provide support to at least 65 projects involving 57 organisations.
Díon grants support the employment of professional workers to provide advice and practical assistance to the Irish community in Britain. Since 1990, some funding has also been provided to support key research into issues concerning the welfare of the Irish community. Díon-assisted organisations are actively helping approximately 37,000 Irish people. The value of the Díon fund has almost quadrupled over the past five years - from €952,300 in 1999 to €3,570,000 this year (the remaining funding for 2004 will be allocated later in the year).
The Díon Committee is paying particular attention to the needs of older people and those who wish to return to Ireland. Both the >Aisling= Return to Ireland project in Camden and the ‘Safe Home’ Programme in Mulranny, Co Mayo, have been supported by Díon for the past three years. By the end of 2003, through their efforts, 237 elderly people had returned from Britain to live in Ireland permanently. Further funding for both organisations was announced today.
Note for Editors:
A Díon grant allocation of Euro 3,570,000 for 2004 was provided by the Irish Government to voluntary organisations providing advisory and welfare services for Irish emigrants in Britain. This level of funding represents an increase of 30% on last year’s allocation. The €1 million announced today is additional to that figure. Euro 3,259,700 has been approved for funding now. The balance will be distributed later in the year.
Díon funding is allocated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the basis of recommendations from the Díon Committee (Díon is the Irish word for "shelter").
Organisations which receive grant aid are not all exclusively Irish-led nor are they all engaged exclusively in work with Irish emigrants. This year 14 organisations are non-Irish managed and they account for 16 of the 112 jobs supported.
Total grants provided by the Irish government to organisations working with the Irish community in Britain since the Díon fund was established in 1984 now amount to Euro 21.429 million. The fund has almost quadrupled (3.75 times) over the past five years from Euro 952,300 (IR,750,000) in 1999, to Euro 2,708,000 in 2001 and to Euro 3,570,000 this year. The significant growth in the Díon fund in recent years recognises the continuing need and disadvantage among some sectors of the Irish community in Britain.
The demand for Díon funding was significant again this year. The total value of the applications was € 5.5 million.
The Díon Committee comprises seven members:
Members: Mr Michael Forde, Managing Director of Ceiling Grids Group, Manchester; Chairman of Irish World Heritage Centre, Manchester; former Vice Chairman of the Federation of Irish Societies and founder member and trustee of Irish Community Care, Manchester
Dr Breda Gray, Senior Lecturer, Women's Studies, Department of Sociology, University of Limerick, and formerly Head of Research at the Irish Centre for Migration Studies, University College Cork
Dr. Theresa Joyce, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust; Doctorate in field of psychology supporting Community Care. Experience in consultancy work on Irish housing needs in Britain
Mr. Jim O'Hara, Chair, Irish Youth Foundation (UK); and former Director of Irish Studies, St. Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill, London
Ms Catherine Quinn, Member of Eastern Regional Health Authority; Member of County Dublin Vocational Education Committee and of Tallaght Hospital (Building and Equipping) Board
Chair: Ms. Máire McCluskey, Embassy of Ireland, London.
Secretary: Ms. Anne Byrne, Embassy of Ireland, London
ENDS+++ 15 July 2004 Press Section Top