Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern T.D., announces Grants to Irish Community Organisations in the Southern Hemisphere

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D., today announced grants exceeding €259,000 to Irish community organisations in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

In announcing the grants, Minister Ahern emphasised the high priority that he attaches to developing and strengthening links with Irish communities abroad:

"These grants reflect the Government's ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of our Irish Family around the globe. It is also an acknowledgement of the valuable community care provided by the extraordinary network of Irish community organisations in the voluntary sector worldwide.

Today, I am delighted to make increased financial support available to organisations in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand that support our communities there."

The Minister stated:

"I am pleased that the additional funding allows us to extend, over time, the geographic reach of our financial support. While the needs of vulnerable people in our communities abroad remain the priority, the extra funding has permitted a broadening of the range of projects and a wider geographical spread. Many of these projects promote community networking opportunities, building on the enthusiasm and interest of our people abroad in their Irish identity and heritage.

In the last year, for example, I have been happy to approve funding for the first time to Irish community organisations in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Today’s announcement covers Irish associations in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand."

The Minister also added:

"Government support for these projects represents an acknowledgement and appreciation of the role that generations of Irish, past and present, who have settled across the globe, have played in developments abroad and at home.

We deeply appreciate the strong and unifying focal points which the Irish associations provide for our communities in these countries. Today’s grants will help these Irish associations to sustain their valuable community support structures well into the future."

 

 

Note for Editors:

Funding is being allocated to four Irish community organisations based in Argentina, five based in Australia and, for the first time, to an Irish community group in New Zealand. The organisations are

Argentina

Federation of Irish Argentine Associations €10,500

Irish Race Society of Junin €10,500

The Fahy Club €16,000

The Hurling Club €35,000

Australia

Famine Committee, Sydney AUS$30,000

GAA Perth AUS$50,000

Australian-Irish Welfare Bureau Wollongong AUS$17,500

Australian-Irish Welfare Bureau Melbourne AUS$104,000

Australian-Irish Welfare Bureau Sydney AUS$100,000

New Zealand

Auckland Irish Welfare €5,000

Government funding for emigrant services continues to rise significantly. In 2007 the funding for emigrant services is €15.1 million, an increase of 26% on 2006.

The Irish-Argentine Community is the largest community of Irish descent outside the English-speaking world. The community is mostly made up of descendents of those who settled there in the 19th and early 20th centuries and is estimated to number approximately 500,000 people. The unique experiences of the Irish who settled in Argentina make a rich contribution to the fascinating history of the Irish diaspora.

* The Federation of Irish-Argentine Associations links together the Irish societies located in Buenos Aires and further afield, it works to coordinate, maintain and strengthen the activities of Irish-Argentine groups, which help to keep Irish identity and traditions alive in the community.

* The Irish Race Society of Junin was founded in Buenos Aires in 1924 by a group of Irish people who wished to maintain their Irish identity and heritage at a time in Irish history when the members felt it was important to establish themselves as being distinctly Irish. The Society’s headquarters have been a focal point for the community since that time.

* The Fahy Club is an Irish club located in central Buenos Aires and is named after Fr. Anthony Dominic Fahy (born Loughrea, Co. Galway, died Argentina in 1871) who was chaplain to the then-growing Irish community. The Club plays an active role within the Irish-Argentine community.

* The Hurling Club is the premier and largest Irish-Argentine Social Club in Argentina, with over 1,000 members. The Club has a strong Irish-Argentine ethos and has demonstrated its capacity to continue the Irish-Argentine sense of identity and linkages with Ireland into the next generation and beyond.

Australia has the third largest Irish-born population outside of Ireland (after Britain and North America). There are approximately 7 million Australians of Irish ancestry.

* The Famine Committee, Hyde Park Barracks, maintains a memorial commemorating the Great Famine which was erected in the courtyard of the Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney in 1999. The Committee has established a permanent trust foundation for the upkeep of the monument.

* The GAA in Western Australia, 2006 Australasian Champions in Men’s, Women’s and Minor Gaelic Football, is developing and has almost completed a new field and premises project in Perth. This will facilitate the development of youth Gaelic games and Irish cultural activities within the large local residential catchment area.

* For the older members of the Irish born community, the Australian-Irish welfare organisations in Wollongong, Melbourne and Sydney are active in developing outreach, support structures and information/advisory services for Irish people who emigrated to Australia in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

The Irish in New Zealand form a smaller part of our Diaspora. According to the 2001 census, there were approximately 10,821 Irish-born people resident in New Zealand.

* Auckland Irish Welfare is developing a community network for Irish citizens in New Zealand to provide advice and assistance to members of the Irish community who may be in need or distress.

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25/09/07

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