Almost €415,000 will be granted to organisations across Australia this year to provide welfare services and support to Irish emigrants, Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., announced on a 10-day visit to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth to meet members of the Irish community.
During his visit, he also led an Enterprise Ireland trade mission and officially opened the new Honorary Consulate for Western Australia, in Perth. Mr Marty Kavanagh is the new Honorary Consul who will provide consular assistance to Irish citizens in Western Australia, in addition to information to Western Australians about Ireland.
The funding, which is being granted to 16 organisations who provide services to some of the 70,000 Irish-born people in Australia, is part of the of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Programme. The largest single recipients in Australia are the Irish Australia Welfare Bureau and Resource Centre, Sydney (€119,492); the Irish Australian Support and Resource Bureau, Melbourne (€99,656) and the Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland (€58,946). As part of this programme, grants of €12.5 million will be provided this year to support the Irish community around the world.
Speaking from Perth, Minister Deenihan said:
“The funding will support frontline welfare organisations to help members of the Irish community, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable. Funding has also been made available to organisations that help foster Irish identity within our community. Of course, assistance to the most vulnerable would not be possible without the ongoing, dedicated work of the Irish Australian support bureaus and other organisations here in Australia. I thank you for your important work in supporting our community here.
“I also acknowledge the work being done by organisations to promote Irish culture and preserve our heritage in Australia. Australia is often dubbed ‘the most Irish country in the world outside of Ireland’ and the stories of successive Irish emigrants and their descendents form an important part of Australian history. In the 2011 census, nearly 2.1 million Australians indicated they had Irish ancestry. I am delighted that these grants will help to increase interest and understanding of that heritage and enhance our connections with the global Irish community.”
Together with GAA President, Liam O’Neill, Minister Deenihan also launched the ‘Striving and Surviving in Australia Guide’ highlights key issues to be aware of if travelling through or moving to Australia and includes advice from Irish people who have travelled through Australia.