Migrant-led orgs feel left out in the cold by new coalition
2016-12-15 13:32:16 -
By Chinedu Onyejelem

A new coalition calling on the Irish Government to raise the number of refugees the State has pledged to accommodate has no single migrant-led member, it has emerged.

Metro Éireann has learned several migrant-led organisations were not asked to join the new Refugee and Migrant Coalition Project, fronted by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland and comprising Irish and international pro-migrant bodies and NGOs.
Some of these organisations have also expressed concern that immigrants would be similarly excluded from the new coalition’s recruitment drive for a co-ordinator at a salary of some €38,000 for a one-year fixed term contract.

Speaking to Metro Éireann, New Communities Partnership (NCP) chief executive Anca Lupu said she was disappointed that the new coalition did not invite her network, which represents 175 immigrant-led groups from 65 nationalities with offices in Dublin and Cork and outreach stations in several Ireland towns.

“We are migrant-led organisations who focus on the real integration of migrants in Ireland,” she said, adding that the new coalition was similar in name to the pre-existing Migrant-Led Coalition established in 2015 by the NCP along with AkiDwA, Wezesha, Africa Centre, Anti-Racism Network Ireland and Forum Polonia.

Meanwhile, Irish migrant networks AkiDwA and Wazesha have accused the new coalition of “undermining and disempowering” migrant-led bodies.

“We have worked hard to challenge discrimination, exclusion and negative attitude on migrants and refugees for many years in this country. But our work and efforts of course mean nothing to this group; our organisations do not exist,” said Salome Mbugua, president of AkiDwA and head of mission with Wazesha.

“This kind of mentality,” she added, “especially with a group of people who you would think were open-minded, confirms that Ireland is a long way from including migrants in any meaningful way in society.”
The Refugee and Migrant Coalition said it understood and shares the concerns of migrant-led groups, adding that “no decision was made to exclude” any group.

In a statement, a spokesperson said the coalition “was formed on an ad hoc basis in a state of emergency last year, in an attempt to develop a more coherent response to the humanitarian crisis occurring at Europe’s borders.”
Thus far, according to its spokesperson, the coalition has “been entirely unfunded”. 

“We have managed to secure funding for one part-time co-ordinator position, and hope this will enable us to expand and deepen the work in this constantly evolving environment - including engaging with more groups.”

The coalition stressed that recruitment for the co-ordinator position (at a salary of some €38,000) would be an open process guided by the Employment Equality Acts.

Members of the Refugee and Migrant Coalition

l Action Aid Ireland
l Amnesty 
International Ireland
l Community Work Ireland
l Christian Aid
l Comhlámh
l Crosscare
l Cultúr Migrants Centre
l Dóchas
l Doras Luimní
l Enar Ireland
l Immigrant Council of Ireland
l Irish Missionary Union
l Irish Refugee Council
l Jesuit Refugee Service
l Mercy International Association
l Migrant Rights 
Centre Ireland
l Mayo Intercultural Action
l Nasc Ireland
l National Women’s Council of Ireland
l Oxfam Ireland
l Trócaire
l World Vision Ireland
TAGS : Ireland Migrant-led Left out New Coalition Organizations Refugee and Migrant Coalition Project
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