|Series of One-Stop-Shop Events Launched to Increase Civic and Political Participation of Migrants||21 Aug 2016|
|#StopRacism Campaign 2016 Launch||09 Aug 2016|
|Immigrant Council Urges Olympic Fans Not to Engage in Sex Tourism||02 Aug 2016|
|Immigrant Council Deplores “Tragic Milestone" as 2016 Death Toll in the Mediterranean Sea Passes 3,000||26 Jul 2016|
|Immigrant Council Welcomes Online Appointments System for GNIB Office at Burgh Quay||22 Jul 2016|
|Immigrant Council Highlights Heroic Role of Irish Navy in Rescue Missions in the Med||15 Jul 2016|
Series of One-Stop-Shop Events Launched to Increase Civic and Political Participation of Migrants
A range of barriers prevent migrants from actively participating in civic and political life, and these must be removed to ensure integration and community cohesion.
That’s according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland, which today (21.08.16) – along with partners Nasc Ireland – launched a series of ‘one-stop-shop’ events aimed at increasing the civic and political participation of EU and non-EU migrants.
Ten events will take place between August 2016 and April 2017 in locations including Dublin, Dundalk, Navan, Newbridge, Carlow, Limerick, Kerry and Cork. The first event was held at the end of July in Cork City, with a very successful turnout.
The events are being run by the Immigrant Council and Nasc Ireland as part of the Participate project, a European project – funded by the European Commission and the Open Society Foundation – that involves similar initiatives in Belgium and the UK.
Low Voter Turnout Amongst New Communities
Commenting today, Joe O’Brien, Integration Outreach Officer with the Immigrant Council, said: “Voter turnout and political participation is low amongst new Irish communities. This reflects the fact that many migrants in Ireland are first-generation, who tend to be less politically active than second or third-generation migrants.
“Another factor feeding into low civic engagement is that the majority of migrants are of working age and live in suburban and commuter areas. The time constraints brought about by work and family demands mean people may find it challenging to move beyond the family home or workplace to get involved in their local communities.
“Language barriers and lack of familiarity with local networks and services can also make it difficult for people to participate in civic and political life in a way they might life.”
Mr. O’Brien said the aim of the Participate project’s one-stop-shop events is to make it easier for migrants to get involved in their local communities.
“This project is seeking to get around the barriers often faced by migrants and to increase the civic and political participation of this new cohort of Irish citizens,” he said. “Becoming a citizen, participating in elections and volunteering have all been internationally recognised as key elements to integration and community cohesion.
“Ireland can benefit so much from the enthusiasm, skills and experiences of our migrant communities. Enhancing migrant participation in local community life will reap multiple rewards on both sides.”
Format for One-Stop-Shop Events
The Immigrant Council and Nasc are organising one-stop-shop events across the country over the coming months. Each event will involve local partners, including local volunteer centres, Citizens’ Information Services, Tidy Towns groups, the Franchise office of local authorities, and sports, community and cultural groups that are looking for new members or participants to join in events.
The Immigrant Council and Nasc will also be present at the events, providing information and practical guidance on issues such as applying for citizenship and registering to vote.
Commenting today, Jennifer DeWan, Campaigns and Communications Manager at Nasc, said: “Seventeen per cent of the Irish population are from a migrant background and, since 2011, over 90,000 people have acquired Irish citizenship.
“This is a huge cohort of people, and it is imperative that people are supported in becoming more actively involved in political and civic activities in their local communities. Participation is a key to integration. People need to feel that they are engaging in what’s happening in their communities to be able to feel a part of it. These events will offer people many different opportunities to begin to engage.
“This project is also a great opportunity to work closely with other organisations and community groups, especially migrant-led organisations, to ensure that the message going out about the importance of participation is being heard by as many people as possible.”
Event Next Sunday in Blanchardstown
The second official one-stop-shop event under the Participate project will take place next Sunday, 28th August, at the Blanchardstown Free Family Fun Day in Millennium Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 from 2-6pm.
Further information on the event – and the Participate project more generally – is available at www.immigrantcouncil.ie.
Contact: Martina Quinn, Alice PR & Events, Tel: 087-6522033 / Catriona Graham, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Tel: 085-1200227
Immigrant Council, National Transport Authority and Public Transport Providers Launch Nationwide Anti- Racism Campaign
Immigrant Council Urges Olympic Fans Not to Engage in Sex Tourism
– Brazil not meeting minimum international standards for elimination of trafficking –
The Immigrant Council of Ireland has today (02.08.16) urged fans travelling to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games to be conscious of the upsurge in sexual exploitation that occurs around major sporting events.
The Council highlighted the link between prostitution and trafficking, and said the brothel-owners and traffickers that fuel the sex industry are likely to take full advantage of increased visitor numbers to Rio this summer.
Commenting today, Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said reports are already emerging of child trafficking busts in Brazil ahead of the Olympic Games.
“The 2016 US Trafficking in Persons Report highlighted the extent of the child sex tourism industry in Brazil, with so-called ‘tourists’ coming from Europe,” he said. “The report stated that the Brazilian authorities are not doing enough to combat this criminal trade.
“Major sporting events are a great time to celebrate national pride, and cheer on your country’s amazing athletes. But they’re also a time when thousands of women and girls are placed at increased risk of abuse and exploitation, due to increased demand for prostitution.
“Prostitution is a harmful, abusive trade and is intrinsically linked to human trafficking.
“It is crucial that fans travelling to the Olympics are aware of the violence, harm and exploitation caused by the sex trade. Anyone who thinks about visiting a brothel must be aware that the women and girls there may be victims of trafficking.”
Contact: Martina Quinn, Alice PR & Events, Tel: 087-6522033 / Catriona Graham, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Tel: 085-1200227
Immigrant Council Deplores “Tragic Milestone," as 2016 Death Toll in the Mediterranean Sea Passes 3,000
Over 3,000 people have now lost their lives in 2016 crossing the Mediterranean to seek refuge in Europe. That’s according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
Commenting today (26.07.16), Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said: “Figures released this week show the number of people missing and dead in the Mediterranean region this year now stands at 3,034.
“Passing the 3,000 mark in this deplorable death-toll is a tragic milestone, and one we should never have reached.
“This is the equivalent of a 747 Airliner plunging into the Mediterranean Sea every month this year. If that were happening, there would be global grief and action, yet this milestone is passed silently, and with little reaction from EU governments.
“The Mediterranean has become a graveyard, and will continue to be so unless EU policies and attitudes change.
'It is obvious that the approach of seeking to push people back into Turkey and other countries is a failed strategy and is neither a sustainable nor a humanitarian response. Safe and legal routes into Europe are the only way to curb this increasing list of fatalities. Until we provide safe passage to those making this journey, men, women and children will continue to lose their lives.”
Mr. Killoran said the first six months of this year saw 93 recorded deaths of children crossing the Mediterranean.
“However, the true number of children who have died is unknown, as most bodies are never recovered,” he said.
“The Immigrant Council of Ireland has called upon the Irish public to make their voices heard and to demand that the Irish and EU member state governments formulate a sustainable, human-rights-based response to this tragic loss of life.
“At its heart, what is happening is a vast human tragedy: the children losing their lives could be our children; the drowned could be our brothers, sisters and parents. How would we want to be treated if this was us?
“Let us end this dark chapter in human history by returning to the key fundamental values of this continent: human rights, dignity, respect for human life – not just our lives, but also the lives of those who come to us seeking sanctuary,” added Mr. Killoran.
Full data and further information on the number of fatalities in the Mediterranean is available at: http://migration.iom.int/europe/.
Immigrant Council Welcomes Online Appointments System for GNIB Office at Burgh Quay
Council says online facility makes Ireland more welcoming to new arrivals; calls for system to be rolled out nationwide in advance of peak demand
The Immigrant Council of Ireland has welcomed the introduction of an online booking system for the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) office at Dublin’s Burgh Quay. The Council has been calling for such a system for a number of years.
The new system is due to operate from Monday (25.07.16), and will enable people registering with immigration to book an appointment for a time that suits them. Up to now, those registering have had to queue in person – often for very long hours – to get a ticket for an appointment time.
Commenting today (22.07.16), Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said: “For far too long, people in need of work, study or re-entry visas have had to queue for hours on end to get an appointment at Burgh Quay.
“Every summer, we’ve seen the inhumane spectre of families queuing overnight and heard stories of people who’ve been in the queue for 12 hours or more, without getting an appointment time.
“The introduction of online booking for immigration appointments is long overdue. We’ve been making calls for such a system for years, in response to ever-growing concerns about the impact of the current queuing methods.
“Ireland prides itself on having a 21st Century economy and a thriving digital industry, so reports of babies and toddlers with their parents kept waiting outside in the cold, from as early as 2am, are simply not acceptable. This is needless hardship on people, and can now be easily resolved using online tools.
“We’re coming into the busiest time of year for immigration, due to the numbers of international students that arrive here every August and September. We’re delighted that online booking is finally being introduced for Burgh Quay, and we would like to see a similar system being rolled out to all GNIB offices nationwide.”
Immigrant Council Highlights Heroic Role of Irish Navy in Rescue Missions in the Med
– LÉ James Joyce expected to reach Libyan waters tomorrow –
As the LÉ James Joyce continues its journey to the Mediterranean this weekend, the Immigrant Council of Ireland has highlighted the key role played by the Irish Navy in rescue missions in the region.
Commenting today (15.07.16), Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said: “The Irish Navy saved over 8,500 lives in the Mediterranean Seas in 2015 alone.
“The LÉ James Joyce is expected to arrive in the waters off the Libyan coast tomorrow, taking over from the LÉ Róisín, which saved 1,263 lives over its 10-week rescue mission.
“Those on board the LÉ James Joyce can be proud to continue this legacy of ground-breaking humanitarian action: the Irish public continue to be proud of their professional and heroic response. In a week that is likely to see the 2016 death toll on the Mediterranean pass 3,000, the Irish Navy is playing a key role in saving the lives of men, women and children fleeing war, violence and fear.”
According to Mr. Killoran, in addition to the Navy’s work, the Government must prioritise other measures to address the refugee crisis.
“The Government has committed to welcoming 4,000 refugees, and has stated that current deadlines will be met ahead of time,” he said. “This progress is promising, but we must remain flexible and ensure we are doing all we can, as a nation, to respond to the refugee crisis as it continues to unfold.
“We must continue to examine the ways in which we provide safe passage to those making this journey.
“We know that the push factors far outweigh the dangers faced on the waters. The work of the Irish Navy is exemplary, but safe and legal routes into Europe are the only way to truly curb the increasing list of fatalities and ensure that no one has to risk their life, nor that of their children, at the hands of smugglers.”
Mr. Killoran noted that the Irish Government is currently in the process of co-organising a high-level United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants in New York in September of this year.
“This is our opportunity for Ireland to show leadership as a nation and call for a new response to this emerging migration reality – one based on human rights, dignity and firm leadership, which extols the reality of the positive impacts that migration brings to us all,” he said. “Ireland must speak for the voiceless as we have so many times in the past. We must use our diplomatic influence to call for a sustainable, human-rights-based response to the plight of refugees”.