Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin has announced the allocation of grants totaling $2.3 million for 27 Irish organizations in the U.S. The funding is provided by the Irish government under the Emigrant Support Program managed by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. 

In New York the Aisling Irish Center in Yonkers, which provides valuable community services to the Irish, received $130,172. The Emerald Isle Immigration Center, which provides legal advice, counseling and a host of other services to Irish immigrants, received $210,000.

The American Irish Historical Society, the cultural and historical institution on Fifth Avenue, received $160,000. Project Irish Outreach received $105,547, while the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform received $40,000.

While the 2010 total grant allocation of $2.3 million is lower than in 2008 and 2009, grants for the provision of urgent services here are in line with previous years, the Irish government says.  Since its inception in 2004, Martin noted, over $105 million has been allocated to the Emigrant Support Program.

Speaking in New York, where he is undertaking a series of engagements with Irish community groups this week before a round of meetings at the United Nations, Martin said, “This year’s grants further demonstrate the Irish government’s commitment to supporting the work undertaken by Irish organizations abroad, particularly those providing front-line services to the elderly and socially disadvantaged.

“I am pleased that this year’s funding of over $2.3 million will ensure that Irish organizations here in the U.S. can continue to provide the exceptional level of service that has become their hallmark.”

The minister added, “Immigration continues to be an issue about which there is much strong feeling in Ireland and among the Irish community in the U.S.  Working with the Irish immigration reform groups and our friends on Capitol Hill and across the country to achieve progress on this challenging issue will remain a high priority for me.”

Martin added that he had “encouraged our community groups to continue lobbying and campaigning actively to garner maximum support. Clear broad based community support for immigration reform is a vital component of the reform debate.”