Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D., announces grants of over €8m to Irish Community Groups in Britain
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D., has announced grants of €8.21 million (Stg £6.45 million) to130 organisations in the voluntary sector that work with the Irish community in Britain. The particular focus of the funding is to support the services that help the more vulnerable members of the Irish community there.
The bulk of the funding will go to welfare projects, including significant funding for projects providing services for the elderly and vulnerable members of the Irish community in Britain.
In announcing the grant allocations, Minister Martin stressed that the Government continued to attach the highest priority to supporting the more vulnerable members of the Irish community in Britain. He welcomed the work being done to assist in particular the older members of the community:
“Their needs, and the importance of meeting them, are a clear priority. Many of the organisations receiving funding this year cater for the elderly, ranging from informal community networking groups for senior citizens to professional organisations that offer a range of services.” The Government “would continue to support Irish organisations in their invaluable work with older people and those members of the community in need of assistance.”
“While the primary emphasis of funding continues to be on
supporting projects that promote the welfare of the elderly and
vulnerable, I am pleased that additional funding has also made it
possible to support a number of heritage and cultural projects
which are vital to the development of community networks and which
help to foster community spirit. These grant allocations are a
clear reflection of the Government's strong commitment to the
welfare and enhancement of our community in Britain. We are
determined to maintain and develop this substantial level of
support in future years.”
The Minister expressed his deep appreciation of the work and dedication of the members of the Emigrant Services Advisory Committee for their work in advising him on grant applications and also on issues of interest and concern to the Irish community in Britain.
Note for Editors:
These grants account for the majority of this year’s allocation to Irish community organisations in Britain. These grants of Stg £6.45m represent an increase of 13% on the grants of Stg £5.72m given to comparable organisations in 2007.
A number of organisations (Safe Home, GAA Provincial Council and FIS) which have previously received grants under this program and will continue to receive funding from the Irish Government are not included in this years grant announcement as the arrangements for their funding have changed. The GAA Provincial Council and Safe Home will be funded directly by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Government is currently negotiating a service level agreement with the FIS which will involve a new funding mechanism for that organisation.
Since 1984 the Government has given financial support to voluntary agencies providing advice and welfare services to vulnerable Irish emigrants in Britain. Over €50 million has been allocated to Irish community groups since then, with the vast majority of this amount allocated in the last five years. Recipient organisations provide advice, counselling and support services for Irish people in need in Britain.
Priority targets for funding are services that support the elderly, the homeless and people affected by illness or substance misuse problems, as well as services for the Traveller community. However, the eligibility criteria have been expanded to allow consideration of cultural, heritage, sporting and other activities which help to foster community contact and support. Further decisions on capital grant allocations are currently under consideration and will be announced later in the year
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