Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that local authorities must be more proactive in their effort to supporting migrant integration in communities in Ireland.

O’Brien made his comments on foot of a Parliamentary Question he tabled on the issue and which revealed that just 10 of 31 Local Authorities confirmed that they have a published Migration Integration Strategy.

“Migrants and those of migrant origin make up close to 12% of Ireland’s population. The integration of migrants and new minorities is something that warrants our attention,” O‘Brien explained.

“The Migrant Integration Strategy which was published in February was designed to go some way towards developing a longer term strategy to enable immigrants to be better able to settle into their lives safely and successfully.

“Migrants have a considerable and hugely important contribution to make in Irish society. Sadly this week we learned through media of shocking details of racism and discrimination experienced by young migrants in Ireland.
“These cannot be tolerated.

“I am disappointed to learn that 19 local authorities do not have a published migrant integration strategy despite being mandated to. This distinct lack of initiative completely undermines a migrant’s chance of contributing to our culture and communities.

“My own constituency of Dublin Fingal is an example of how well a migrant population can become established in a community when a local authority has targeted advice and a strategy to assist.

“I recently met with the Immigrant Council of Ireland to discuss this complexities and obstacles faced by migrants trying to integrate into communities nationwide. The Communities Integration Fund for community-based organisations to promote the prospects of integration at local level is a part of the necessary response to counteract racially motivated attacks, verbal assaults and hate crimes.

“However, it is most imperative that every local authority is guided and encouraged by the national action plan to take a proactive approach to putting in place measures that will ensure social inclusion and social cohesion.

“Ireland has an opportunity to get this right, but every local authority, not just a handful must play a leading, meaningful and active role in this. The very first step is adopting a Migration Integration Strategy,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.