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Support and services for the Irish community in Britain must be maintained

Added 22-Nov-2010

The Environment and Social Affairs Committee of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly has presented a report and recommendations on "The Irish Community in Britain" to the 41st plenary of the BIPA in the Isle of Man.

The report welcomes the ongoing support of the Irish Government to the Irish community in Britain, and acknowledges the funding provided to many community and voluntary organisations from local authorities across Britain for services that support vulnerable Irish people.

The report also calls for this level of support from the two Governments to be maintained, and that the Irish community in Britain should not be an easy target for the fiscal cuts that Governments are making.

This report updates a 2007 report that was presented to the Assembly in November that year. Given the significantly changing social and economic circumstances in Britain and Ireland since then, Committee D revisited the recommendations in the original report and examined developments since then.

Other recommendations in the report include:

• The provision of funding for a specific survey on the needs of the elderly Irish
• The need to keep the Hammersmith Irish Cultural Centre operating at its present location
• The need to keep and monitor data on the Irish as an ethnic community in Britain
• The continuation of the provision of vital services to the Irish traveller community in Britain

In regard to the UK census next year, the Committee acknowledged the ongoing inclusion of "Irish" in the ethnic majority section, and that the Irish Embassy in London is supporting the Federation of Irish Societies' campaign to encourage Irish people of all ages to participate in this process.

The Chairman of Committee D, Lord Dubs, said "At a time when both the Irish and British Governments are seeking to make significant savings, it is important that the crucial support to the Irish community in Britain is not sacrificed. Over the last decade, a lot of work and time has been invested in supporting those Irish people who have experienced hardship and difficulty in Britain. It is vital that that support remains.

"For that reason, we have presented to the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly a series of recommendations about the Irish community in Britain. These recommendations are addressed to the British and Irish Governments alike.

"We urge the two Governments to act on our recommendations on behalf of a community that will need the assistance of both Governments in the new financial era that we are experiencing."



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