Council for Emigrants of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference

This Council comes under the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care

Contact details

Leslie Alcock is the Coordinator for the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas and Emigrant Officer; and, Bernie Martin is the Administrator
Columba Centre, Maynooth
Co. Kildare
Tel: +353 (0)1 505 3155 Fax: +353 (0)1 601 6401
Email: [email protected]

(Brian Hanley, Coordinator for the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas and Emigrant Officer, is on a career-break)


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Membership of the Council

Father Gerry French
Father Alan Hilliard
Father Nigel Charles
Mr Gary Doggett
Ms Joan Freeman
Ms Joanna Joyce
Sister Liz Murphy


Episcopal membership:

Bishop Paul Dempsey (Chairman)



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 the 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.


  • To express the concern and care of the Irish Church for the spiritual and temporal needs of Irish people overseas in partnership with the local Church
  • To research the on going needs of Irish emigrants and keep them before the Irish Church
  • To develop and initiate services which will give practical expression to these concerns
  • To liaise with national and international bodies dealing with migrants and refugees


Irish Apostolate USAwww.usairish.org

The Irish Apostolate USA is the response of the Irish and US Catholic Bishops to the needs of Irish immigrants in the United States – the needs of the human person. It is the Christian imperative of caring for those who move far from their ancestral home, and welcoming the stranger as one would welcome Christ, once an exile himself. 

Irish Chaplaincy in London
Mr Declan Ganly
50-52 Camden Square
London NW1 9 XB
Tel: +44 (0)207 482 5528
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.irishchaplaincy.org.uk

Irish Chaplaincy in Australia
Father Gerard Moran
Mount Carmel Retreat Centre
247 Saint Andrew’s Road
NSW 2566
Tel: +61 (0)2 8795 3454
Email: [email protected]

Irish Chaplaincy in Paris
Father Jim Doyle
Collège des Irlandais
5 rue des Irlandais
75005 Paris
Tel: 00 33 1 58 52 10 89
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.irishchaplaincyparis.fr/

Useful Contacts

The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers is a national umbrella group for Irish immigration centres in the United States: www.ciic-usa.org