By Stephen McKinley
Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs, Brian Cowan, will release the report of the task force regarding Irish emigrants today that recommends across-the-board reforms to help Irish citizens who live overseas. [See the foreign affairs ministry’s web site for a copy: www.gov.ie/iveagh].
The report’s findings are broad, declaring for the first time that “those who have left this country remain part of what we are as a Nation,” and it recognizes the often poor health, welfare and social conditions that emigrants in the UK and elsewhere experience, and that the Irish abroad still experience anti-Irish racism and that Irish identity is complex, extending well beyond even the children of Irish emigrants.
In its conclusion, the report declares that its guiding principal has been “a conviction that the Irish Abroad are an integral part of the Irish Nation and must be recognized and treated as such.”
The report has several key recommendations, including creating a government agency for the Irish abroad.
Funding for Irish organizations that help the Irish abroad should be increased by as much as 500 percent, the report declares. By 2003, the report says, euro 21 million should be allocated to Irish organizations around the world that help the Irish abroad.
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The report’s broad goals are set out in four key points: