An emigrant support organisation has told an Oireachtas Committee that Irish citizens in the UK have been consistently raising concerns in clinics about the repercussions of Brexit.

"In every conversation, at every home visit, every information clinic, it comes up as an issue. I think there is a lot of uncertainty, there is a lot of worry, there is a lot of concern," Karen McHugh of Safe Home Ireland said.

The Foreign Affairs Committee heard from a number of organisations which help Irish citizens overseas return home.

Ms McHugh said there was a real "sense of fear and insecurity" amongst some members of the Irish community, in particular around access to payments.

Safe Home Ireland, which was set up in 2000, helps Irish emigrants return to Ireland, many of whom are elderly.

The organisation has assisted 2,023 people secure accommodation and return home.

However, Ms McHugh said the current housing shortage has impacted on their ability to operate.

"In recent years this process has become more complex with voluntary housing bodies insisting that our applicants must be assessed by the relevant local authority to be considered for housing rather than accept direct referrals which was customary," she told the committee.

Ms McHugh also said that one emigrant returning home to Ireland to look after an 87-year-old uncle spent a year trying to access Carer's Allowance, and is still waiting to receive actual payments, despite a successful appeal.

Richard King of Crosscare, which also assists returning emigrants, said it had noted a growing trend of returning emigrants being denied access to social welfare payments in Ireland due to the Habitual Resident Condition attached to claims.

"In 2017, we dealt with 280 queries and worked directly on 18 cases of HRC based disallowed claims. We submitted 12 cases to the Social Welfare Appeals Office and every case was successfully overturned," Mr King said.

He added that in the majority of the cases it deals with, the individuals are experiencing very vulnerable situations such as homelessness or risk of homelessness, with no income or support networks.

"Additionally some have children or further health and social care support needs."

The committee also heard from the Irish Council for Prisoner's Overseas on the difficulties facing prisoners during and after their sentences abroad.

Ciara Kirrane of the ICPO said it had provided support to a small number of immigration detainees in the United States and Australia.

"In some cases the person hasn't lived in Ireland for many years and has no family or support structures here. There is something very stark about meeting a person in Dublin Airport, often with just their deportation papers in their hand and the clothes they arrive in; having left Ireland when they were just a few years old," Ms Kirrane said.