Parties favour election Quota for migrants
2018-04-01 17:01:00 -
Integration
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By Tom O’Connor and Chinedu Onyejelem

Majority of major party reps back idea to promote integration in Irish politics

Representatives of major political parties in the country are in favour of election quota for migrants, Metro Éireann has learned.

 

At a recent gathering of mainly migrant communities at the Department of Justice, almost all party representatives in a panel discussion agreed that such a quota could be modelled alongside that for women candidates.

 

Addressing participants at the conference aimed at promoting migrant participation in politics, particularly in next year’s local elections, chair Salome Mbugua said getting immigrants more involved in political life in Ireland would be of mutual benefit.

 

“Engagement and representation are crucial for effective integration of new communities,” she said. “There is no better place to focus this effort than in local politics which oversees the communities in which we all live.”

 

Mbugua added that the gathering provided “an important platform for mutual learning”. 

 

“Our political system is woefully homogenous and would both benefit and be enriched by greater diversity,” she said. “Increased diversity and different perspectives will build a stronger, more diverse and ultimately more reflective political system.”

 

Earlier, the Minister for Integration said getting more immigrants into political participation remains a key theme in the Government’s Migrant Integration Strategy.

 

“The overall vision of the strategy is that migrants are facilitated to play a full role in Irish society, that integration is a core principle of Irish life and that Irish society and institutions work together to promote integration; a crucial step towards this goal is political participation,” Minister David Stanton said.

 

Encouraging the Taoiseach to nominate a migrant member to the Seanad was also mooted at the conference, as was the idea of a migration caucus for development NGOs along the lines of Concord in the Netherlands.

 

Party reps at the event included former Fine Gael local election candidate Adeola Ogunsina and Labour’s Senator Ivana Bacik, whose father migrated to Ireland from Czechoslovakia in the 1940s. Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Green Party and the Social Democrats were also represented. Renua’s Jacqui Gilbourne was the only panelist to disagree with the migrant quota suggestion.

 

The event was organised by eight organisations: Akidwa, Cairde, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, IOM, Forum Polonia, New Communities Partnership, Places of Sanctuary Ireland and Wezesha.


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