Integration is very important

Immigrant groups concerned at lack of political will towards integration

Nusha Yonkova from Bulgaria, Logan Raju from Malaysia and Cesar Faustin from Cameroon help to highlight integration policy weaknesses in the lead-in to St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Marc O’SullivanPhotograph: Marc OSullivan

JAMIE SMYTH, Social Affairs Correspondent
IMMIGRANT GROUPS have raised concerns about the lack of political will shown towards integrating migrants and the failure of the new Government to appoint a specific minister for integration.

The Immigration Council of Ireland said yesterday Ireland had been “stubbornly slow” at introducing integration policies and this made it a “relatively unwelcome country” for migrants.
Catherine Cosgrave, a senior solicitor with the council, said this was particularly disappointing due to Ireland’s history of emigration, which is highlighted during the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
“Rather than being ‘half-way favourable’ to migrants, given our experience, Ireland should be strongly favourable,” she said.
Migrant Rights Centre Ireland said it was concerned there was no specific minister of state for integration in the new Government. Green Party deputy leader Mary White had the title minister of state for integration, equality and human rights in the previous government.
Director of the rights centre Siobhán O’Donoghue said: “It is a matter of concern that we have no minister for integration, but what is more important is that there is a real political will and leadership to address equality and social inclusion of migrant workers.”
A recent study from the British Council and the Migration Policy Group think-tank found Ireland was among the least prepared states to help new immigrants enter the school system and do well at studies. It scored better for allowing migrants to participate in local elections.