As a rural G.P and Chairman of a voluntary Housing
Association based in Mulranny, County Mayo, Dr. Jerry Cowley
found that he was being approached on a regular basis by
relatives of older Irish people living abroad asking that
they be considered for housing in the scheme.
Publicity surrounding the housing project at St.
Brendan's Village in Mulranny increased the level of
enquiries from abroad. This in turn led to Dr. Cowley
setting up the Safe Home Programme as a pilot project in
January 2000 to test the hypothesis that if they could be
given minimal support, a small but significant number of
older emigrants would want to come home. In excess of 2000
responses were received.
Thus in July 2001 the Safe Home Programme became an
organisation in its own right. Following extensive lobbying,
Safe Home secured the Amendment to
the Capital Assistance Scheme in November 2001. It gave
older Irish emigrants the opportunity to be considered for
social housing in Ireland while still resident outside of