Much reference is made to the “forgotten Irish,” often depicted as older vulnerable emigrants who still live abroad. In our experience, those who return home after having spent a lifetime in exile can also feel forgotten, isolated, and an outsider in the communities that they return to, as they try to re-adjust to living back in Ireland once more.
Founded in 2000 by Mayo’s Dr Jerry Cowley, Safe Home Ireland offers a range of services and support to anyone considering moving or returning to Ireland. Since our inception, we have directly assisted 2,194 older Irish people return home and countless others via our outreach, information and advocacy services. This year marks our 21st anniversary and we are reaching out to the Mayo diaspora to support our work. We have set a fundraising target this year to raise $21,000
Many of our clients have spent 40 years or more living abroad. Safe Home Ireland has found that initially when they return, people present with a feeling of great euphoria. However, all major life changes inevitably also bring stress and doubts about decisions made. Once the initial excitement of being home wears off, a low period tends to follow. Visits from Safe Home outreach officers (albeit temporarily suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions) help to ease the transition back home. They advise on ways of coping with change and avenues to assist in re-integrating back into the communities that they have returned to. A major part of Safe Home’s outreach work is in identifying other suitable support services local to where the person has returned to, and where appropriate linking the returnee in with the agencies providing the service.
Safe Home Ireland is reaching out to the US diaspora for $21,000 to support its amazing work.