Recession hits Irish immigration centers in New York
Donations are down as need for services rise
O’Dwyer said the Emerald Isle has stepped up its private fundraising efforts by going out into the community and inviting new donors to support the center.
“We are making the case to people that the first priority for the community now has got to be the immigration centers, take care of your own first and we are hopeful that will pay dividends,” he said.
Looking ahead, O’Dwyer said the center is enormously grateful to the Irish government for the consistent funding over the past number of years. But he is apprehensive about the future knowing that there are considerable cutbacks needed to be made in Ireland also.
“We do not look forward to this next year with any sort of optimism. It’s going to be a tough slog,” said O’Dwyer.
“It’s a tough slog in a time when if ever we are needed it’s now. There are people being deported and a lot of different people coming to us with different problems. It’s enormously challenging, more than any other time in the 20 year history of the center and in a time when we are scratching for funding.”
Meanwhile, the Irish Minister for Education and Services Batt O’Keefe, announced last week that the Irish Government plans to add an additional ***20 million to the George Mitchell Scholarship Fund, run through the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, over the next number of years to secure the future of the program.
The program awards a number of U.S. students each year (105 since 1999) with a scholarship to study at a university in Ireland.
O’Keeffe said, “Since 1999, the George Mitchell Scholarship Program has attracted 105 high-caliber students from U.S. universities to study on a wide cross-section of postgraduate courses at universities on the island of Ireland, with a further 12 students due to start their studies in Ireland in the autumn.”
O’Keeffe said the Irish government’s intention is to make ***20 million available for the prestigious scholarships over the next number of years. This is on top of the government’s £2 million ($3m) contribution in 1999 when the program was set up.
“The forthcoming legislation will commit the Irish government to providing up to ****4 million annually over the next number of years provided matching funding can be raised from private donors by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance,” said O’Keeffe.
The U.S.-Ireland Alliance set up the George Mitchell Scholarship Program in 1999 to mark Senator George Mitchell’s contribution to the peace process in the North.
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