Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Emigrant Support Services

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry South, Fine Gael)
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363. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will raise with ministerial colleagues the issue of the loss of entitlements of returning Irish emigrants, for example the entitlement to free third level fees, if they have been out of the country for more than a certain number of years; if he will seek a relaxation of these rules; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47056/14]

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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My Department is committed to supporting those Irish emigrants around the world who left Ireland and want to come home.

We are already aware of a number of barriers to return for those emigrants such as the recognition of driving licenses. My colleague, Minister of State Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Minister Deenihan T.D., recently convened an interdepartmental meeting to discuss these issues and seek solutions where possible.

While it may not be possible to fix all of the problems faced by returning emigrants, through the interdepartmental committee we now have a forum to work with other Departments and agencies to minimise the difficulties arising. This process will be ongoing.

I welcome the announcement by the then Minister for Education and Skills in March of this year that the children of Irish emigrants, who have spent 5 years in primary or post-primary school in Ireland, will qualify for EU level fees at Irish Universities and third level institutions for undergraduate courses.


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