Extra Government funding for Emigrants a welcome development – Catholic Bishops

15 Jul 2004




The Director of the Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants, Fr Alan Hilliard
today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen,
in the Irish Embassy in London, that funding for emigrants services will be

Fr Hilliard, who is currently visiting church run chaplaincy services for
emigrants in London said, “While I welcome the announcement today of grants
totalling €3.26m for emigrants in Britain, the story of Irish emigration has
been at times a sorry one, and one that has perpetually stained our history.
While the Catholic Church and many voluntary agencies have worked tirelessly
over the years to improve the plight facing our emigrants, tangible Government
support was always required if effective closure was ever going to be brought
to this Irish social problem. Today may the beginning of such support.

“I am particularly pleased that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Brian
Cowen has announced today the setting up of a dedicated unit to coordinate
the provision of assistance to the Irish abroad, and that the work of this
unit will commence in September. Political credit is due to the Government
for delivering – for the first time – an operational unit focused on improving
the livelihood of emigrants abroad.”

Fr Hilliard continued, “The adequate resourcing and staffing of this unit
will be a measure of the Government’s commitment to our emigrants in the
future. However, I must acknowledge that the appointment today of a person
of the calibre of His Excellency Mr. Sean Farrell, ambassador to Estonia,
augurs well in this regard.”

Fr Hilliard concluded, “All those working with the Irish abroad, particularly
in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, will whole heartedly
welcome today’s announcement by Minister Cowen . We may now be entering
an era full of hope and new possibilities for our emigrants abroad.”


Further information:
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)
Fr Alan Hilliard Director IBC’s Commission for Emigrants (087 747 7110)