Government must take integration seriously
2019-07-01 15:58:47 -

The publication of a new progress report on Ireland’s Migrant Integration Strategy has been cautiously welcomed. This report, which is purely a self-assessment by officials from the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration within the Department of Justice and Equality, states in rough terms that most of the actions listed in the strategy are either on track or fulfilled.


Understandably there are serious concerns that the situation presented in the report is far from the reality. Describing the Migrant Integration Strategy as a solid framework, the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) warned that “insufficient political prioritisation and resources threaten its effective implementation”. It added that “a number of vague action points, lack of robust data and insufficient prioritisation among agencies responsible are a cause for concern”.


Commenting on the report, the ICI integration co-ordinator Teresa Buczkowska said the absence of “definitive targets” in the list of actions “has resulted in generously defined progress analysis.


“Evidence of robust data collection — for example, in actions relating to integration in schools, local authority activities and access to public services — is missing, making it difficult to assess effective progress.”


Metro Éireann also recalls that action 45 of the strategy is aimed at making “the Civil Service fully representative of Irish society … we will aim to have one per cent of the workforce from ethnic minorities”. There was no mention in the report of any exact figure of such recruited to date.


Nevertheless, we must acknowledge Government’s resolve to fight racism by announcing its plans to establish an ‘Anti-Racism Committee’. But there must also be a review of existing hate crime legislation if the Government is serious about the issue.

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