Since 1990, the Irish government has allocated money each year to the centers, primarily in Britain, but also at a dozen or so locations around the U.S.
That the money has been needed is not in dispute. That more money was required each and every year since 1990 is probably the case too.
But even in the boom years of the Celtic Tiger there were limits. For the most part then, the Irish centers around America said thank you and proceeded to put the money to work in various ways, not least in helping the undocumented.
There is always a cost factor in a fiscal cut. And it goes beyond a mere number.
The indications are that the Irish are on the move again because the economy, on the island as a whole, is digging itself in for a recession that looks like being deeper and longer than even the grim one that is gripping the U.S.
That will mean a pull and push effect. No jobs in Ireland and reports drifting across the Atlantic of even a modest upturn in the U.S. economy will mean a significant number of people emigrating.
And this well happen regardless of whether or not Washington gets its act together on immigration reform.
It stands to reason, then, that the Irish centers will face an increasing workload. It stands to reason that less financial help from the Irish government will heighten the strain on the centers. It stands to reason then that a cut in this aid is not desirable. Far from it.
A million euro is a lot of money in one sense and not a lot in another. In the face of soaring unemployment, how long does it take to spend a million on dole checks? Not long.
And how many people must leave Ireland’s shores before the government in Dublin saves a million is those payments. Not all that many and by no means as many as will likely leave.
Given what is potentially a significant exodus, the suggested million euro cut is a line, one of many such lines in economist McCarthy’s list, that the Irish government should skip over.