DIASPORA Minister Seán Fleming has announced a funding package of £6.23million to support the Irish community in Britain.
The Minister of State for International Development and Diaspora announced the funds, which are allocated under the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme (ESP), today.
Minister Fleming met with members of the Irish community at the Irish Embassy in London this afternoon.
“I am very pleased to announce £6.23million in funding for British-based organisations from the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme this year, an increase of over 10% on last year,” he said.
“This is my second visit to Britain since being appointed Minister for Diaspora last December and I really value these opportunities to visit Irish community organisations and to meet with Irish people in their communities.”
Since 1984, the Irish government has given financial support to voluntary agencies providing advice and welfare services to Irish emigrants overseas through the ESP.
Over £32million has been provided to organisations in Britain through the programme over the past five years.
Prior to the Embassy reception, Minister Fleming was in Lewisham, south-east London to witness the work being done within the community.
He said his visit to Britain this week was a “chance for me to see first-hand, as I did earlier this morning at the Lewisham Irish Community Centre in south-east London, the extraordinary work being done in Britain, often with limited resources, to support what is still the largest Irish-born community outside of Ireland”.
He added: “It is so important that the Irish Government, on behalf of the Irish people, continues to support our communities across England, Scotland and Wales and stays connected to Irish people who have made their home in Britain.”
Mr Fleming went on to praise the positive impact the Irish community has had on life in Britain.
“There is virtually no aspect of British life that has not been enriched by contributions from the Irish community, whether it is through sport, music or community life,” he said.
“Along with my government colleagues, we have seen these contributions, on our regular visits to Britain.
“With all of that in mind, the Irish Government remains committed to supporting and engaging with the fantastic Irish community in Britain, as it has done since 1984.”
Minister Fleming also met with members of the Emigrant Support Advisory Committee, during his visit, and was guest-of honour at a dinner to mark the 50th anniversary of the Irish in Britain organisation.