Programme for Government gives sketch outline for migrant integration, but success depends on the action which follows
The Programme for Government agreed today by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party leaders Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan provides a sketch outline for promoting diversity and migrant integration. However proof of true commitment – and real impact – will depend upon the priority, actions and resourcing the new Government provides to fill in this outline.
Brian Killoran, CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “We welcome the broad commitments contained within the Programme for Government document to promote equality and migrant integration, but must stress the importance of this being followed by prioritisation and action. Ireland’s increasing diversity is a reality and cross-departmental buy-in is essential, so leadership must come from the top, not just relegated to the Department of Justice and Equality.
“It is encouraging to see clear commitments to introduce a new national action plan against racism and introduce new hate crime laws – both of which are very long overdue. We must listen to the recent spontaneous outpouring from black and ethnic minority Irish telling us their experiences and ensure this expertise informs the development of the action plan and all associated anti-racist activity.”
Mr Killoran added, “While ending Direct Provision and replacing with a not-for-profit model is welcome, this must go hand-in-hand with investment in the International Protection Office to ensure timely and fair decision-making. The same must go for the immigration system itself – the strains of ongoing under-resourcing have been laid bare during the coronavirus pandemic. We welcome the pledge to provide pathways to regularisation for long-term undocumented.
“But to deal with the backlog in decision-making and processing, not only must the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service be adequately funded, but the formation of the new Government must provide the opportunity to reform the red-tape heavy immigration system. It should develop and publish guidelines for all immigration applications and registration related requirements for clearer, less bureaucratic decision-making, and ensure access to civil legal aid and independent appeals mechanism for all immigration and citizenship decisions.”
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Pippa Woolnough, Communications & Advocacy Manager, Tel: 085 8640682