Effective migrant inclusion needs political leadership and dedicated resources, conference hears
The Immigrant Council of Ireland is hosting an Integration and Inclusion Conference to identify positive actions which promote effective migrant integration and inclusion. It will be solutions focused, incorporating information on approaches which have been effective in other countries and tying this firmly to the current environment in Ireland. There will be in-depth discussion on six thematic areas: Employment, Housing, Direct Provision, Sport, Migrant Leadership and tackling Racism.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland’s Integration and Inclusion Conference will hear from both international and national experts on migration and integration, to illuminate the path ahead and help us to take action which promotes positive and effective integration.
Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Distinguished Transatlantic Fellow, Migration Policy Institute and Convener of the Transatlantic Council on Migration, said, “The reaction to immigration typically starts with discomfort with ‘difference’ (religious, linguistic, sociocultural, etc.) and can quickly graduate to identity issues, typically born out of the depth and rate of change. Unless government and civil society work together to engage the issues smartly and in a sustained way, the reaction can quickly become toxic.
“That’s why it is imperative to listen to and invest in the social (schooling, workforce training and job creation) and physical infrastructure (especially housing) of communities that globalisation and the economic recovery left behind.”
Margie McHugh, Director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Migration Policy Institute, said, “Building integration capacities requires sustained and well-coordinated effort across the various levels of government and with multiple system partners. While the complexity of the undertaking makes it inevitable there will be stumbles, a commitment to unflinching analysis and continuous improvement are essential to maintain public trust in relocation and resettlement policies.
Brian Killoran, CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “Ireland is at a crucial junction when it comes to immigration, integration and inclusion. While we know the majority of Irish society believes in compassion and welcome, we are concerned people from migrant backgrounds will be left behind unless we see stronger political leadership and resourced frameworks to support integration and inclusion.
“The danger of not being proactive now is that inaction can lead to a segregated society and tension within communities. The alternative is building stronger community cohesion and harnessing the full cultural, societal and economic benefits migration brings.
“Seven years ago, then Home Secretary Theresa May vowed to create a ‘hostile environment’ for certain migrants in the UK. Little did she know the hostility and hatred would spill into Westminster and infect politics to the extent it has. Sadly, there is a minority here in Ireland watching and learning and we’re starting to see initial signs of outward hostility towards migrants within our communities.
“This hostility does not reflect the true values of the majority of the Irish population, and we must ensure that the voices of compassion and inclusion are at the forefront. This conference will bring together people who have been leading the conversation around migration both in Ireland and internationally. These are the voices we should be listening to.”
Note to editors
The Integration and Inclusion Conference is being held 9:30am-4:30pm, Wednesday 6 November, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8.
The keynote addresses will provided by:
- Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Distinguished Transatlantic Fellow, Migration Policy Institute
- Pedro Calado, High Commissioner for Migration, Portugal
- Margie McHugh, Director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Migration Policy Institute
***Contact Pippa Woolnough, Communications and Advocacy Manager, Immigrant Council of Ireland, if you are planning on attending the conference and to arrange interviews.
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