The Emigrant Information Pack 2017, produced by the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants and containing practical information which will assist emigrants in making informed decisions and support them while they are away, is now available to download. This year’s information pack also includes resources for parishes.
Introduction to the Emigrant Information Pack 2017
A report released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in August 2016 found that Ireland continues to experience net outward migration – albeit at a lower level than the previous year. Tens of thousands continue to depart our shores in search of fresh hope and new opportunities. Figures published by the Central Statistics Office in August 2016 show that 76,000 people emigrated from Ireland. Of these, 35,300 were Irish nationals. There has been a slight increase in the number people immigrating to Ireland this year at 79,300 (up from 60,600 the previous year).
While this is welcome news, emigration continues to have a profound effect on Irish society as many well-educated, enthusiastic young people travel abroad in search of new opportunities.
Preparing Properly for Emigration
It is vital that those considering emigration are prepared for the experience. We hope that the practical information in this pack will assist emigrants in making informed decisions and support them while they are away.
This information pack also hopes to make emigrants more aware of the importance of travelling safely and we encourage people to download the TravelWise smartphone app to their phone. TravelWise will help Irish people travelling abroad to stay safe and informed while travelling, living or working overseas.
For many people, living abroad will be a very positive experience but others may struggle with feelings of isolation and find it difficult to ask for help. Drug and alcohol abuse, depression and suicide are serious issues that affect Irish communities overseas. We hope the information provided in this pack will help raise awareness of the supports that are available for Irish emigrants and encourage people to talk about these important issues.
While emigration remains high, each year a significant number of people also make the decision to come home. No matter how long an emigrant has been away, it is important that they plan ahead for their return. We hope this information pack will also assist those who are returning to Ireland in accessing the supports they require.
Spiritual Support for Emigrants
In addition to practical assistance, emigrants need spiritual and emotional support. The Council for Emigrants, through its chaplaincies overseas, continues to provide essential pastoral outreach to Irish emigrants as they strive to build a new life for themselves far from home.
We would like to thank the chaplaincies, Irish immigration centres and organisations that provided us with information about their work. These centres and organisations work tirelessly to assist Irish emigrants of all generations and continue to contribute a huge amount.
The Council for Emigrants (formerly Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants IECE) is the response of the Episcopal Conference to the needs of Irish emigrants prior to and following departure. It shows the caring face of the Church and is particularly committed to the needs of the vulnerable involuntary emigrant. It is a significant voice on behalf of emigrants – condemning involuntary emigration and seeking rights and adequate services for them. It provides services for potential emigrants and, in conjunction with the host church responds to the needs of the Irish as an immigrant community.
History of IECE
The plight of Irish emigrants in Britain was brought to the attention of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid in the mid 1950’s by a group of Columban priests working in Manchester. Following their appeal and the obvious need the Irish Bishops’ Conference asked that priests be released to minister to this wave of Irish Emigrants. Initially the work involved celebrating the Sacraments, however more and more attention was paid to the living and working conditions of these emigrants, many of whom were on the verge of destitution. The response was formalised by the Irish Bishops’ Conference in 1957 when it set up the Irish Chaplaincy Scheme in Britain. This response was replicated in the United States in the mid eighties when large numbers of young Irish left Ireland in the hope of a better and brighter future there.