Going Down – Ireland’s emigrant support funding

Going Down - Ireland’s emigrant support funding
Minister Jimmy Deenihan with Ambassador Dan Mulhall and his wife Greta.

Ireland’s emigrant support funding for the biggest Irish organisations in the UK is cut as Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan tells them they must be smarter about raising money, reports Fiona O’Brien.

Going Down – Ireland’s emigrant support fundingLast year’s £5.1 million funding, was also a reduction on 2013’s figure of £5.4 million. Approximately three-quarters of grants made are for amounts under £50,000.

Going Down - Ireland’s emigrant support funding
Chair of GAA’s London County Board Noel O’Sullivan and Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan. 

It comes out of an £8.194 million global budget, with the UK the largest recipient – due to the size of the community – over America, Australia and the EU.

As our page one story this week shows, the ‘cake’ that is the annual round of Emigrant Support Programme grants is smaller this year, as are the individual slices. Just as he did last year, Ireland’s Diaspora minister Jimmy Deenihan urged Irish groups and charities here to seek funding closer to home in the UK and to be prepared for more rigorous scrutiny of what they are doing for the money they do receive. We have written in the past about the lack of any visible or tangible legacy for tens of millions of pounds of Irish government grants over the last couple of decades.

Camden’s London Irish Centre is the biggest single recipient – its funding has been cut to £429,000 from £500,000.

Some of the smaller groups respond, with some justification, that their welfare or pastoral work is hard to measure empirically. Other groups’ outcomes are a little more nebulous, for want of a better description. But with new leadership at the two biggest recipients of ESP grants it is to be hoped that these will, in future, be a little less so and we wish them every success in achieving that.

In doing so they may have greater fortune in attracting financial support from the very many wealthy and successful Irish who have prospered in this country and who like to be associated with a positive tale to tell.

Going Down - Ireland’s emigrant support funding
Keith Raffan, Collette Mackin, Maura Haughey and Laurance Cahill.

The announcement was made by Minister Deenihan at a London Embassy of Ireland reception for the organisations, where he stressed that the groups would also need to look at other avenues and self- fundraise to ensure longevity rather than rely on state handouts.

The London Irish Centre in Camden remains the programme’s biggest recipient, but they have found their funding slashed dramatically from £500,000 last year to £429,000 this year.

Going Down - Ireland’s emigrant support funding
Ian McDonnell, Mary Tilki, Ambassador Dan Mulhall, John O’Connor, and Sean Henderson.

Minister Jimmy Deenihan said: “Since being appointed the Irish Government’s first ever Minister for the Diaspora, I have had the pleasure of visiting many of the organisations represented here today. It has been a great privilege to see first-hand the tremendous work that is being done and the profound impact that your services have on our emigrants in Britain.”

Minister of State Deenihan went on to thank Irish community.

Going Down - Ireland’s emigrant support funding


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