Migrant voices must not be shut out
2018-12-01 13:57:41 -


David Stanton, Minister of State for Equality and Integration, recently hosted delegates form local authorities across Ireland in Athlone for a special gathering titled ‘Supporting Integrated Communities: Linking National and Local Action on Migrant Integration’.

The symposium discussed Ireland’s approach to integrating members of the new communities locally, and how best local and national authorities can collaborate to encourage migrants to get involved in the life of cities, towns to more rural areas.

Perspectives further afield were heard from diverse communities in Spain and Norway, as well as from a Belfast-based adviser to the Council of Europe on intercultural integration, while a workshop was co-ordinated by an integration outreach officer with a leading Irish pro-migrant organisation.

At a time when there is limited action on the Migrant Integration Strategy at both local and community level, one might have praised the minister and his office for their efforts here.

However, it is shocking that the immigrants in question were not involved in the discussions about their future in Ireland. At the very least, the press release issued by Department of Justice does not mention the contribution or participation of any migrant at this gathering.

If the minister and the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration are honest about including migrants, as they have said, why were they not allowed to speak for themselves? Surely immigrants are ‘relevant stakeholders’ in their own integration.

Unless immigrants are included and involved in all aspects of the Migrant Integration Strategy, there is little hope that its 76 actions would be even close to being met by its end in 2020.



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