Call for input from returning emigrants into Government study

Department of Foreign Affairs to research obstacles facing those returning to Ireland

A US-based advocate for Irish emigrants has said a newly commissioned study on obstacles facing those who wish to return to Ireland should take into account the experience of those who have made the return journey.

This week, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced the appointment of Indecon, an economic research body, to compile a comprehensive report on "barriers" to returning emigrants.

It will look at potential solutions to often unnecessary administrative problems such as securing access to credit, insurance and drivers licences.

Ciaran Staunton, chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR), said he hoped the move would bring about the "speedy removal of obstacles that can turn the joy of returning Irish citizens into disillusionment and despair".


Mr Staunton said a “one-stop shop” solution was required to address various difficulties faced by both individuals and families.

“We need to simplify the process of getting car insurance, buying a house, getting education for our children, returning to family farms, getting electricity [AND]getting health insurance,” he said in a statement.

Emigrants who come from rural areas had faced particular issues, he said, and urged anyone coming home to live to document any specific administrative obstacles they encountered, information that he said should go toward helping inform Indecon’s work.

Announcing the report on Wednesday, Minister of State for the Diaspora Ciarán Cannon said the Government was committed to facilitate Irish people living abroad who wish to return to live in Ireland.

“We are working to ensure that moving or returning to Ireland is as easy as possible for them,” he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs provides funding and support through the Irish Government Emigrant Support Programme to organisations working with such citizens.

Over the last decade, it said, more than €4 million has been allocated to Irish-based organisations.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times