New report identifies negative experiences of vulnerable Irish emigrants


Vulnerable Irish emigrants returning to this country are experiencing poverty, homelessness, isolation, mental and physical health needs, according to a new report launched today.

The findings are contained in ‘Coming Home In Crisis‘ a report from Crosscare Migrant Project exploring the experiences of Irish emigrants returning to Ireland in crisis.

Crosscare Migrant Project recorded the real life experience of returning Irish emigrants as well as insights from eleven Irish Emigrant Support groups who work with Irish emigrants abroad.

Senator Billy Lawless launched the report on Monday 14th October 2019 at EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin.

Crosscare’s research acknowledges that support for returning emigrants has increased since the introduction of Ireland’s Diaspora Policy in 2016. However, it states that closer attention must be paid to the protection of returning emigrants who are coming home in vulnerable circumstances.
Danielle Mc Laughlin, Policy Officer with Crosscare Migrant Project said

“Emigrants who are returning to Ireland in unplanned and crisis situations have experienced issues such as job loss, homelessness, serious health needs, addiction, deportation, release from detention or prison, fleeing conflict zones or domestic violence.”

She added,

“On return, they are facing obstacles to accessing the supports they need. These obstacles range from administrative challenges and emergency accommodation shortage, to delays in access to urgent social welfare payments and healthcare.”

Ms Mc Laughlin said the report highlight the need for efficient access to vital statutory services and supports, including to stable emergency accommodation, social welfare and medical and psychological care. Particular attention is also required to ensure returning Irish emigrants from minority ethnic groups do not suffer from unfair discrimination.

Setting out the main reasons Irish emigrants return to Ireland in crisis, the report offers recommendations around seven key areas of concern – Housing, Financial Insecurity, Family and Support Networks, Health, Immigration Issues, Detention/Deportation, Personal security issues around threats and violence, and Discrimination.

Speaking in advance of the launch, Senator Billy Lawless discussed his work representing Irish emigrants abroad in the USA and supporting emigrants returning to Ireland, stating

“Crosscare Migrant Project is often the first port of call for some Irish citizens returning in crisis. We need to send a strong message that Ireland cares for its Diaspora.”

A number of key policy recommendations from the Crosscare research were identified; these included immediate access to homeless accommodation and emergency social welfare assistance for returnees, free medical care for those in urgent need of medical attention (while medical card applications are processed) and accelerated immigration permissions for non-EEA family members.

Crosscare Migrant Project is also calling for the development of training and service provision across relevant statutory services on the rights and entitlements of returned emigrants and expansion of the Central Statistics Office’s annual Population and Migration Estimates to capture more information on return migration of Irish citizens to Ireland.

Download a full copy of the report here.

// ENDS (Press Release: Monday 14th October 2019)

Contact: Danielle McLaughlin – Policy Officer, 083 117 4965 / 01 873 2844, 


Pictured above – left to right: Darragh Doyle/EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Ellen McCarthy/Crosscare Migrant Project, Patrick Rodgers/Irish Community Care Manchester Danielle Mc Laughlin / Crosscare Migrant Project, Dr Patrick Greene/EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Senator Billy Lawless, Sarah Owen/ Crosscare Migrant Project, Richard King / Crosscare Migrant Project, Brian Hanley / Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas.