The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, has welcomed the holding of the first meeting of a newly reconstituted Cross Departmental Group on Integration, which will review our approach to the integration of migrants.
The mandate of the Cross Departmental Group includes reviewing 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. The Cross Departmental Group, which met for the first time yesterday, will also act as a forum for the identification and discussion of any emerging issues in the area of integration.
Putting that review in context, Minister Shatter commented "I firmly believe that immigration over the past 20 years has had a transformative impact on Irish society for the better. The migrant community is playing an increasingly important role in many walks of life and has greatly enhanced the social, cultural and economic fabric of our society.
"The increasing diversity of Ireland’s population presents at the same time challenges for us all. It is important that Ireland remains a nation which welcomes those who have already settled here and will do so in the future. It is equally important that we adapt to the increasingly diverse nature of Irish society. We need also to be vigilant to protect against the emergence of any manifestations of racism and xenophobia.
The Cross Departmental Group is being tasked with reviewing the activities being undertaken by Government Departments and agencies directed to promoting the integration of migrants with a view to producing a new updated overall integration strategy."
The Minister noted that much good work had already been done across Government on developing integration strategies.
The Minister also stated "we need nevertheless to be sure that our approach to integration is capable of responding to the current and likely future challenges which an increasingly diverse society present. We also need to be sure that our approach to integration remains fully in keeping with the commitment in the Programme for Government to promote policies which contribute to integration and which promote social inclusion, equality, diversity and the participation of migrants in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities."
The Minister believes that a review of what Ireland is doing in terms of integration is timely and will allow us to take what is best and use it to guide us through the period ahead, thus ensuring that Ireland continues to be a place of welcome and inclusion.
Minister Shatter will be consulting widely on what that integration strategy should contain and, to that end, today the Department invited written submissions from interested groups and members of the public by way of an advertisement that appeared in the national press and selected other media (28 March 2014).
28 March 2014
Note for the Editor:
The Cross Departmental Committee is representative of the Departments and Offices with a significant role in integration and is being chaired by a senior official from the Department of Justice and Equality. The following other Departments/Organisations are represented on the Group :-
The Department of the Taoiseach
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
The Department of Education and Skills
The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
The Department of Health and The Health Service Executive
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs
The Department of Social Protection
The Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
The Department of Defence
Central Statistics Office
The Garda Síochána
Health Service Executive
County and City Managers Association.