147. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the integration strategy; when it will be finalised and published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41947/15]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): The Programme for Government contains a commitment to promote policies which integrate minority ethnic groups in Ireland and which promote social inclusion, equality, diversity and the participation of immigrants in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities. A significant level of activity is taking place in pursuit of this commitment.
The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, an Office operating under the ambit of my Department, has a cross-Departmental mandate to develop, lead and co-ordinate migrant integration policy across other Government Departments, agencies and services. The Office is currently engaged in a review of the approach to the integration of migrants with a view to the preparation of a new updated overall Integration Strategy in keeping with the Government’s commitment to the integration of migrants. A Cross-Departmental Group on Integration was established in March, 2014 with a mandate to review the activities being undertaken by Government Departments and agencies directed to promoting the integration of migrants, preparing a Draft Integration Strategy taking account of the policies and actions already being implemented, and undertaking consultation with key stakeholders. A public consultation process was subsequently launched as part of the review. Over eighty submissions were received from stakeholders, a large number of whom met with the Cross-Departmental Group on Integration. The Group also held a number of thematic meetings focussing on key policy areas relevant to the integration of migrants, including education, access to public services and social inclusion, and the promotion of intercultural awareness and combatting racism. Work on the development of the updated Integration Strategy is ongoing and a draft was recently sent to key stakeholders for their observations with a view to the Strategy being published as soon as possible.