New Integration Hub will tackle racism and promote migrant political participation
A new Integration Hub to meet the needs of Ireland’s increasing diversity is being launched today by the Immigrant Council of Ireland. Organisation CEO Brian Killoran said 15 years’ experience of supporting migrant rights has informed the focus of the Integration Hub, which will promote political and civic engagement while also tackling racism.
Brian Killoran, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “Ireland in 2017 is richer and more diverse than it has ever been, so it is essential greater efforts are made to foster successful integration. The functions of the Immigrant Council’s new Integration Hub have been devised based on 15 years’ experience working in the area.
“The lack of coherent, effective integration strategies for migrants is not just a shame, it is costing society dearly. While there are dozens of incredible community-based initiatives taking place across the country, they are in pockets and too many people are missing out. The Hub will focus on building partnerships with Local Authorities to deliver coordinated, local-level integration strategies, which are proven to be most effective and mutually beneficial.
“The Hub will also host a dedicated programme of work to increase the political participation of migrants – both as voters and also as potential candidates. Not only will it ensure our elected representatives take into account migrants’ voices and needs; increased representation will ensure our elected representatives better reflect the increasing diversity of the communities they are representing. Currently only 2 out of 949 local councillors are non-Irish nationals and just one TD is from a migrant background.”
Kany Kazadi, migrant integration promoter, said, “Building political participation among the migrant population is not rocket science, it just requires some time and effort. People need to know how to engage and be encouraged to do so, this means sharing information via online campaigns and at the same time taking time to go into the community and meet people face to face.
“It is time we had political representative which reflects the true diversity of Ireland – not only would this be fairer, it will result in improvements for everyone in society.”
Teresa Buczkowska, Integration Coordinator at the Immigrant Council of Ireland, added, “Over the past 15 years the Immigrant Council has monitored the incidence and impact of racism on migrant communities. This evidence, coupled with the experience running anti-racism campaigns with the National Transport Authority, has equipped us with the necessary knowledge and skills to run a cross-cutting anti-racism campaign which will be a central pillar of the Integration Hub’s remit.
“Proactive anti-racism work is essential for effective integration to dispel myth and rumour and build stronger, more cohesive communities.”
Note to editors
The Immigrant Council’s Integration Hub is supported by funding from Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.