To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the actions that have been taken by his department to support Irish emigrants that wish to return here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
REPLY This Government is committed to working to facilitate Irish people living abroad who wish to return to live in Ireland. We are working to ensure that moving or returning to Ireland is as easy as possible for them.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the Emigrant Support Programme, provides significant funding and support to organisations, including Crosscare Migrant Project and Safe Home Ireland, which work with citizens who wish to return to Ireland. Over the last decade over €4 million has been allocated to Irish based organisations working with returning emigrants and funding for these organisations this year is in line with recent years.
The Minister of State for the Diaspora, Ciarán Cannon, chairs the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Irish Abroad which works to ensure that Government works in a joined up way to realise the objectives of Ireland’s Diaspora Policy. This includes addressing issues affecting the Irish abroad and those seeking to return. The role of the Minister of State for the Diaspora, as Chair of the IDC, is to raise areas of concern to Irish people abroad with Departments with responsibility for those areas. Work is continuing in a number of Departments on addressing issues that have been raised at the Interdepartmental Committee.
To build on the work of this Committee in addressing such barriers, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has commissioned an economic report on barriers to return. The report will be completed in the coming weeks and will inform Government policy and actions in relation to difficulties it finds.
In addition to assisting to address potential barriers, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is always looking for new and innovative ways to assist Irish people abroad and those returning.
To support returning emigrants in a practical way, the Department has established ‘Back for Business’, a mentoring programme for returning emigrants to help them set up business in Ireland and contribute fully to local communities and economies across the country. This pilot programme is currently underway and will be reviewed on completion.