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Friday, December 2, 2016
Irish bishops welcome extra funding for emigrants
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¬†The director of the Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants, Fr Alan Hilliard today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen, in the Irish Embassy in London, that funding for emigrants services will be increased. Fr Hilliard, who is currently visiting church run chaplaincy services for emigrants in London said: "While I welcome the announcement today of grants totalling §3.26m for emigrants in Britain, the story of Irish emigration has been at times a sorry one, and one that has perpetually stained our history. While the Catholic Church and many voluntary agencies have worked tirelessly over the years to improve the plight facing our emigrants, tangible Government support was always required if effective closure was ever going to be brought to this Irish social problem. Today may the beginning of such support. "I am particularly pleased that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Brian Cowen has announced today the setting up of a dedicated unit to coordinate the provision of assistance to the Irish abroad, and that the work of this unit will commence in September. Political credit is due to the Government for delivering - for the first time ≠ an operational unit focused on improving the livelihood of emigrants abroad." Fr Hilliard continued: "The adequate resourcing and staffing of this unit will be a measure of the Government's commitment to our emigrants in the future. However, I must acknowledge that the appointment today of a person of the calibre of His Excellency Mr. Sean Farrell, ambassador to Estonia, augurs well in this regard." He concluded: "All those working with the Irish abroad, particularly in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, will whole heartedly welcome today's announcement by Minister Cowen . We may now be entering an era full of hope and new possibilities for our emigrants abroad." Source: Irish Bishops Conference Media Office
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