Coming Home in Crisis – Crosscare report on Irish Emigrants

Coming Home in Crisis – Crosscare report on Irish Emigrants

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Coming Home in Crisis

New report identifies negative experiences of vulnerable Irish emigrants

Press Release – Monday, 14 October  2019


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 launches the report today 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.  ENDS


A full copy of the report is available at



Danielle Mc Laughlin – Policy Officer,   083 117 4965


  • Crosscare Migrant Project is a project of Crosscare (, the social support agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Emigrant Support Programme funds its work with intending and returning Irish emigrants.
  • The focus of Crosscare Migrant Project’s direct information and advocacy work is with people who are marginalised. For returning emigrants, Crosscare Migrant Project helps them to access statutory supports, apply for social welfare payments and submit appeals on refusals if necessary.
  • For intending emigrants, Crosscare Migrant Project provides an overview of visa systems for major destination countries as well as pre-departure information and referrals to Irish support organisations abroad.