During his visit to the U.S. last week, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin announced the allocation of $2.68 million in grants for Irish organizations throughout the U.S. The Emigrant Support Program, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, provides the grants.

Twenty-eight Irish organizations in the U.S., including those who work closely with immigrants to providing pivotal support, advice and programs, have benefited from the grants.

Speaking after a series of meetings with Irish immigration centers and groups in New York last week, Martin said, “In my closing address to the recent Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh, I emphasized my firm commitment to achieving a new level of sustained engagement with members of our Diaspora and Irish communities abroad.”

He continued, “As part of my determination to follow up quickly on the momentum generated at Farmleigh, I am pleased to announce the allocation of $2.68million to a range of Irish organizations in the U.S. ”

Grateful for the work the various centers and organizations do for the undocumented, Martin said, “The resolution of the situation facing the undocumented Irish, and the early establishment of new arrangements to facilitate legal migration between Ireland and the U.S. remain a priority for me as minister.”

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) received $50,000 to continue its efforts to lobby on behalf of the undocumented. Announcing the funding for ILIR Martin said, “The allocation of additional government support to the ILIR is a further indication of the government’s firm determination to work with our community in the US to find a long term solution.”

ILIR also received $50,000 last year, $100,000 in 2007 and $85,000 in 2006.

In New York, the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers received a grant totaling $130,000. Last year they received $146,000. The Emerald Isle Immigration Center received $210,000, $14,000 more than its 2008 grant. The Senior Help Line received an additional $10,000 to its $15,000 grant from last year and Project Irish Outreach received $107,386, slightly less than its grant in 2008.

The New York Irish Cultural Center/Failte Care Corporation received $130,000, $80,000 less than last year.

Other immigration centers to benefit from the funding include the Irish Immigration and Pastoral Center in San Francisco (140,600), the Irish Outreach in San Diego ($35,000) and the Seattle Irish Immigration Support Group ($5,000).

First time grant receivers this year were the Irish American Cultural Institute ($50,000), the Irish American Heritage Museum ($12,600), the Gaelic American Club in Fairfield ($100,000), Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, ($20,000), Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform ($10,000), Irish Technology Leadership Group ($50,000), AOH Thomas Meagher Memorial, Montana ($10,000) and the University of Montana ($38,000).

 In Boston the Irish Cultural Center of New England in Canton received the same amount of funding as last year, $350,000. The Boston Irish Immigration Center received $210,000, $10,000 more than last year and the Irish Pastoral Center also received $179,516, a few thousand more than its 2008 grant.

Other organizations in receipt of grants from the Irish government for various ongoing projects or services include the Irish Arts Center ($22,649), the American Irish Historical Society ($160,000), the Irish Immigration and Pastoral Center in Philadelphia ($130,000) and the Commodore John Barry Club ($13,800). Chicago Gaelic Park received $250,000 and Chicago Irish Immigration Support received $150,000.

In Washington, D.C., the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers received the same amount of funding as last year ($68,000) and the Irish Apostolate USA received $23,790; receiving $22,000 in 2008. 

The minister emphasized that supporting Irish communities overseas remains a top priority for the Government. 

Martin said, “We will continue to offer support to all sections of the global Irish. In addition to the increased economic element to our work arising from the recent forum, I am determined to ensure that we continue to attach a high priority to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of the Irish abroad.”