To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the programmes under his department's remit that support and engage the diaspora and Irish overseas; the planned expenditure in 2017 for each of those programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 28th February, 2017.
Ref No: 9798/17
[Minister of State, Mr. Joe McHugh, T.D.]
The Emigrant Support Programme administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides funding for projects to support and engage Irish communities overseas and to facilitate the development of deeper and more strategic links between Ireland and the global Irish community.
The Emigrant Support Programme prioritises culturally sensitive, frontline welfare services that address the needs of the most vulnerable Irish emigrants. The programme also supports a wide range of other diaspora engagement projects, particularly cultural, community and heritage projects that foster a vibrant sense of Irish community and identity, as well as strategic capital projects.
The overall budget for the Emigrant Support Programme in 2017 is €11,595,000. This matches the allocation for 2016. The 2017-18 grant closed on the 15 February and the received applications are currently being reviewed.
In addition to the Emigrant Support Programme which is specifically targeted at funding projects supporting and engaging the global Irish community, this important objective is also an integral part of the wider work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and in particular the work of our Missions abroad. As such this important area of the Department’s work attracts significant other resources, both human and financial, but this expenditure is not part of a specific allocation or diaspora activity budget that is reported on separately. Rather this work is undertaken annually as part of the core work of Missions, within the wider Departmental and Mission budget.
For 2017 an additional budget of €400,000 was allocated to my Department to support local diaspora engagement. My Department is currently considering strategic priorities around this aspect of our engagement with the global Irish and how that new fund can be best structured and administered to achieve priority outcomes.
A full list of previously funded organisations under the ESP can be found at https://www.dfa.ie/global-irish/support-overseas/emigrant-support-programme/