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The man who inspired this worth while study Tony Gallagher Photo by: Google Images

Study will shed light on the situation of elderly Irish in New York

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The man who inspired this worth while study Tony Gallagher Photo by: Google Images

A study will shortly be published on the  lives of the elderly Irish in New York. 300 Irish have so far been interviewed.

The study  was inspired by the tragic 2008 death of Mayo native Tony Gallagher, 72, who lay undiscovered in his apartment in Queens for over seven days.

Following the death, the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform President Ciaran Staunton secured Irish government and Irish American political support for the study.

Dr. Elaine Walsh is heading the project, which has been facilitated by the Fund for the Advancement of Social Services with the full support of Senator Chuck Schumer and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

She said many of the elderly had spent a lifetime sending money and parcels back to Ireland.

They included a former bus driver still sending $900 (£569) a month to his Irish nieces and nephews.
Dr Walsh also said many feared for the future of ireland after the collapse of the Celtic Tiger 
She said the survey will show  "how they're doing now, what their concerns are in the future and what kinds of programmes could we put in place that would be culturally sensitive for the Irish".

Walsh hopes the findings will assist the Irish and U.S. administrations help these elderly people.

"We will use it as an action plan to work with both governments to see what they can do to do some prevention services as well as support services, and to also work with communities,” she told the BBC.

Walsh’s team has devised a questionnaire that covers topics such as health, housing, money issues and social services.

According to the Gallagher Initiative's blog page, professors from Hunter College and Fordham University are carrying out the study.

The study started out in Queens but has since been expanded to all five boroughs in New York City.

The Gallagher Initiative is especially interested in talking “ with older adults who are living alone or are isolated.”

Only two percent of the some 300 elderly people interviewed so far are Protestant, and that is something Walsh wants to address.

"We've failed there, I have to tell you. We're not happy and we have a few more months so we're hoping we find some."

Despite the challenges that many elderly Irish face, Walsh has found that they have no regrets over leaving the Emerald Isle to cross the Atlantic to work for a better future for their children.

"They are happy they made the decision they did and they are very positive about the US," she said.

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