Action Plan Against Racism for Ireland to be drawn up by new independent
- Ministers address inaugural meeting and announce Membership
- 16-member Committee to be chaired by Caroline Fennell, Professor of Law at UCC
- Committee is tasked with drafting an Action Plan Against Racism for Ireland within one year
- Committee intends to focus on concrete actions
19 June 2020
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD and David Stanton TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, have announced the membership of the new independent Anti-Racism Committee. The Committee is being established to draw up a new Action Plan Against Racism for Ireland.
Chaired by Caroline Fennell, Professor of Law at University College Cork, and Commissioner with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, the new Committee will consult broadly in developing new ideas for fighting racism in Ireland. It will recommend an action plan to Government at the end of its work, which is expected to take approximately one year.
The Committee comprises people from diverse backgrounds, including those with lived experience of racism. The intention is that its work will be grounded in the lived reality of people’s lives and that the recommended Action Plan will be action-oriented and practical. Its members come from a wide range of sectors and backgrounds, recognising that racism can occur in many aspects of life and that broad experience and expertise need to be harnessed to develop an effective action plan address it. The Committee includes people from the business, education, local government, academic and advocacy sectors. (A full list of the members is supplied below).
Work to develop terms of reference and a representative membership has been ongoing since December 2019 when the Ministers appointed an independent chairperson. The Committee held its inaugural meeting, via Zoom, on Thursday 18th June 2020. Both Minister Flanagan and Minister Stanton addressed the Committee at the beginning of the meeting, highlighting the importance of their work and promising the strong support of the Department of Justice and Equality and the wider Government.
Minister Flanagan welcomed the first meeting of the committee, saying,
“I wish the Committee every success in this critically important work. We need to acknowledge that racism does occur in Ireland; to understand better how prevalent it is and what its impacts are; and to generate effective strategies for tackling it. I am very pleased that we will have access to the expertise on this Committee to guide us in this and I look forward to the outcomes of this really important work. In particular, the mandate of the Committee to engage very widely across society is of crucial importance in informing the proposals it will ultimately make.”
Minister Stanton commented on the importance of the Action Plan Against Racism for a fully inclusive Ireland, saying,
“The Government recognises the need for further action to combat racism. In giving this new Committee a mandate to develop a new Action Plan Against Racism for recommendation to the Government, we are building on the work we have done over the past three years under both the Migrant Integration Strategy and the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy. Both these Strategies set out a vision for an inclusive Ireland, where everyone has the opportunity to participate fully, and diversity is valued.”
The Committee Chair Caroline Fennell welcomed the appointment of the other members, saying:
“I very much look forward to working with my fellow Committee members on this important task. There is a broad and deep range of knowledge and expertise on the Committee, including lived experience of racism in Ireland, which will be so very important to our work.”
The Committee is specifically tasked with reviewing the current evidence on racial discrimination in Ireland and looking to best international practice on measures to combat racism. To inform its work it will hold a series of stakeholder dialogues to gain from the views of civil society, members of the public, members of the Oireachtas, the business sector, media and other relevant parties.
The Committee is required to produce an interim report to Government not more than three months after its first meeting identifying priority issues and a programme of work for the Committee. At the end of one year, the Committee has been asked to provide a draft anti-racism strategy, containing a clear action plan and recommendations for the Government to consider.
Notes for Editors:
Terms of Reference of the Anti-Racism Committee
Terms of Reference:-
- To review the current evidence on racial discrimination in Ireland;
- To examine international practice in combating racism;
- To hold stakeholder dialogues to identify the views of wider civil society; members of the public; members of the Oireachtas; the business sector; media and other relevant parties;
- To produce an interim report to Government not more than three months after its first meeting identifying priority issues and a programme of work for the Committee;
- Having regard to the review of evidence; international practice; research commissioned; and the outcome of stakeholder dialogues; and taking account of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; to provide a draft anti-racism strategy, containing a clear action plan, at the end of one year that:
- identifies priority issues to be addressed;
- makes recommendations on strengthening the Government’s approach to combating racism, building on the actions currently included in the Migrant Integration Strategy and the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy;
- generates ideas for reducing racist abuse in the public space.
Members of the Committee and Summary Biographies
(1) Chair, Caroline Fennell
Caroline Fennell is a Professor of Law in the School of Law, University College Cork. A founder member and co-Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (2006-8), her research focuses on constructions of fairness in criminal justice, with particular reference to marginalisation and crisis situations such as terrorism. She has published numerous books and journal articles on the areas of the law of evidence, gender, criminal justice and terrorism. Appointed a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission by the President of Ireland in May 2018, Professor Fennell is also the current Chair of ENNHRI (European Network of National Human Rights Institutions).
(2) Shamsun Nahar Chowdhury
Shamsun Nahar Chowdhury completed her Masters in International Development Studies at Maynooth University. Prior to this she gained work experience as an intern at the Development Studies Association Ireland (DSAI) in Trinity College. She has completed her Bachelors of Law (LLB Hons) at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and Master of Laws (LLM) at Durham University, Durham, UK. She went further to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Law Practice and training in Mediation and is an Accredited Mediator. She aspires to use her educational background and skills to promote for a just and equal society. Shamsun Nahar brings a wealth of knowledge of research on the laws and policies on Gender-Based Violence and Discrimination. She organises for awareness raising, trainings, and engaging with communities to initiate dialogue on issues faced within the migrant community in Ireland. She also engages and meets with migrant women groups to explore various platforms for voicing issue affecting migrant community in Ireland.
(3) Meadhbh Costello
Meadhbh Costello is a Social Policy Executive at IBEC, the Irish employer and business representative body. In this role, Meadhbh is responsible for providing support and strategic advice to IBEC member organisations on diversity and inclusion, as well as lobbying and the development of policy positions on issues related to skills and the labour market. Prior to joining IBEC Meadhbh has extensive experience as a Policy Analyst and Project Manager in the business, think tank and Government ministry sectors in Ireland and abroad. Meadhbh holds a BA in philosophy, political science, economics and sociology from Trinity College Dublin.
(4) Anastasia Crickley
Anastasia Crickley was head of the Department of Applied Social Studies at Maynooth University until 2015 where she championed access for marginalised and minority groups including Travellers. She is former chairperson of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, was first chairperson of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and Special Representative on Racism of the OSCE chairperson. She was chairperson of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism from 1998 until 2008, Building on her work with Irish emigrants she co-founded the Migrants Rights Centre Ireland and has played leadership roles in the foundation and development of Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, Community Work Ireland, European Network against Racism and the International Association for Community Development. Anastasia integrates a life-long commitment to anti-racism, human rights, feminism and community development in her ongoing work nationally and internationally most recently in a number of COVID related initiatives.
(5) Tom Enright
Tom Enright was appointed Chief Executive of Wexford County Council in 2014. A native of Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Mr. Enright worked in Limerick for almost 20 years where he held the posts of Director of Environment and Emergency Services with Limerick County Council and Director of Planning and Economic Development with Limerick City and County Councils. He previously worked with Waterford and Wicklow County Councils and with consultants in the private sector. He Chairs the National Libraries Development Committee and the CCMA Land Use and Transportation Committee.He is a graduate of University College Cork and Cranfield University in the UK and holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from Dublin City University.
(6) Sindy Joyce
Dr. Sindy Joyce is a Human Rights Defender (HRD) and member of President Michael D Higgins Council of State. She was named as one of the ‘50 brilliant Irish women who inspired us in 2018’ by the Daily Edge. In 2014, she won the Traveller Pride Award for Education. She is the first Mincéir (Irish Traveller) in Ireland to graduate with a PhD and to be appointed to the Council of State. Her research interests include both direct and indirect forms of racism, ethnicity/identity, social/political constructions of Mincéirí and the production of space related inequalities, her PhD title was Mincéirs Siúladh: An ethnographic study of young Travellers’ experiences of racism in an Irish city. Sindy was successful in winning the prestigious Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme with a top score of 95.5%.
(7) Úna-Minh Kavanagh
Úna-Minh Kavanagh hails from County Kerry and is a journalist, author and multimedia content creator. She published her first book, ‘Anseo’ on the Irish language, identity, racism and her childhood in Kerry with New Island Books in 2019. Úna-Minh won an award as Social Activist of the Year with U Magazine in 2017 for her campaign, ‘We Are Irish’ and now runs the good news website WeAreIrish.ie. She is a blogger whose written work has been nominated for blog awards several times over the years and a live-stream gamer who broadcasts in English and in Irish. Úna-Minh has a BA in Irish and Journalism from Dublin City University agus tá Gaelainn aici – she is also a passionate Irish speaker.
(8) Patricia King
Patricia is the General Secretary of ICTU. She is a former vice-President of SIPTU and also served as one of two vice-Presidents of Congress. A full time official with SIPTU for over 25 years, she was the first woman to serve as a national officer of the union when she was appointed vice-President, in May 2010. She has represented workers in all areas of the economy, in both the public and private sectors. Patricia was a lead negotiator in both the Croke Park and Haddington Road agreements. She played a leading role in the Irish Ferries dispute (2005/6) and in subsequent negotiations that saw an overhaul of employment rights law and the establishment of the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA). Patricia currently serves on the boards of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) the Apprenticeship Council, Court Services Board and the Low Pay Commission.
(9) Nana Nubi
Nana holds a Bachelor's Degree in Law from University College Dublin and an LL.M in International and Comparative Law from Trinity College Dublin. She is currently training at the Honorable Society of the King’s Inns to become a Barrister. Nana Nubi has professional experience in human resources and business development, she is currently the Project Officer for the United Nations International Decade for people of African Descent, Ireland (IDPAD Ireland). Nana Nubi has a history of working in human rights organisations such as Afro-Irish and Africa Centre Ireland. Between 2015 - 2019 she founded and ran The Alpha Project, a youth empowerment initiative. She is passionate about ensuring people of African descent maximize their potential.
(10) Ciarán Ó Catháin
Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin is the President of Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), the leading third level institution in the Irish Midlands, a role he has held since 2000. He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology and holds a Doctorate in Management from the University of Ulster. He is a visiting professor at the Capital University of Economics and Business, Beijing and he also holds honorary professorships at both Beijing Union University and Beijing Information Science and Technology University. Professor Ó Catháin also holds honorary Doctorates in Management from University Malaysia Perlis and Management Science University in Kuala Lumpur. Prof. Ó Catháin has spent his career in numerous leadership roles across academia, tourism and indeed sport at a local, national and regional level. He is former Chairman of Technological Higher Education Association, the representative body of all Institutes of Technology in Ireland and has previously served as Chair of the Council of Directors of the Institutes of Technology in 2002. Professor Ó Catháin presided over the instrumental development of the Institutes new Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023, which champions an agenda of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) among the institute’s students, staff and the wider community as he recognised it value in fostering an environment of equal opportunity for all.
(11) Shane O’Curry
Shane O’ Curry is the Director of INAR – the Irish Network Against Racism, a network of 104 civil society organisations working together to combat racism in all its forms in Ireland, and an active participant in the European Network Against Racism. Working with INAR members, Shane has co-developed the iReport.ie racist incident, hate crime and hate speech recording system and uses the information gathered to support media analysis, regular data reports on racist hate incidents, and the institutional responses to them. Shane also works with INAR Network members to coordinate common network policy responses to racism in all its dimensions. Working with INAR members, he has advocated for a Durban Declaration compliant National Action Plan Against Racism. He is a participant in the EU High Level Group on Hate Crime. In his role as director of INAR, Shane coordinates the Coalition Against Hate Crime Ireland (CAHC), an Inter-NGO alliance lobbying for Hate Crime Legislation in Ireland, he is a partner in EU-wide Facing all the Facts project researching and developing online training course for NGOs, Prosecutors and Police in responding to hate crimes and monitoring hate crimes, hate speech and other bias-motivated incidents. He is the co-author of Connecting on Hate Crime in Europe, Country Report for Ireland. He is an active member of a number of EU-wide partnerships linking civil society organisations, statutory bodies and intergovernmental organisations on practices and policies relating to hate crime and racism. Shane has made policy submissions addressing structural, cultural and institutional racism, to the Oireachtas, to ECRI and to the Department of justice as well as overseeing the consultation, development and presentation of the Civil Society Alternative Report to UN CERD in Geneva in December 2019.
(12) Bashir Otukoya
Bashir Otukoya is a PhD student in the UCD Sutherland School of Law, and also in the UCD School of Politics & International Relations. He holds a BAL, an LLB, as well as an LLM in Public Law. His current research focuses on citizenship, in particular, exploring the politico-legal process of becoming an Irish citizen (by naturalisation), and its influence on the sociological idea of being Irish. Bashir is a member of the Irish Refugee Council and is experienced in advising migrants in politico-socio-economic integration matters. He is also an ex-board member of Dialogue & Diversity and has organised workshops and published reports on migrant integration. He is also a law Lecturer in Griffith College Dublin where he teaches European Union Law and, International Asylum and Immigration Law.
(13) Linus (Boidu) Sayeh
Linus (Boidu) Sayeh is 24 years old and originally from Monrovia Liberia. He moved to Ireland on his 8th birthday, and has lived in Westmeath for 16 years. He currently plays senior football with Westmeath and with his local club Rosemount. Mr Sayeh has spoken publicly about racism he has experienced both on and off the pitch. He has also highlighted the positive role sport can play in helping children feel like they belong in Ireland.
(14) Eugenia Siapera
Eugenia Siapera is Professor and Head of the School of Information and Communication Studies at UCD, where is also the Director of the newly established UCD Centre for Digital Policy. Eugenia holds a BSc in Social Psychology and an MSc in Media and Communications both from the LSE and a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the EUI (Florence). Before coming to Ireland in 2013, she had academic appointments in Italy, the Netherlands, UK and Greece. She has published in the areas of digital media and cultural diversity, digital journalism, digital inequalities, online hate speech, racism and misogyny. She has received research funding from the European Commission, the IRC, SFI, BAI and HERA. Eugenia is the author of two single authored books, four edited volumes, and numerous book chapters and journal articles. Her most recent book is the second edition of Understanding New Media (Sage, 2018) and the edited volume Gender Hate Online (with Debbie Ging, Palgrave, 2019). She is the editor of the journal Online Information Review (with Kalpana Shankar).
(15) Margot Slattery
The Sodexo Group is a worldwide leader in on-site services and Margot Slattery, as its global chief diversity & inclusion officer, has responsibility for the strategic direction, implementation and alignment of its integrated global diversity and inclusion initiatives across five dimensions. They are Cultures & Origins, Disabilities, Gender, Sexual Orientation/LGBT+ and Generations. Limerick-born Margot joined Sodexo Ireland in the early 1990s and became country president in 2015. She moved into her present role in 2019 and while it now takes her over all the world, her base is in Ireland. For her role and work in championing successful inclusive leadership in Ireland, Margot was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the French Ambassador to Ireland and has been recognised with many other business and professional awards.
(16) Owen Ward
Owen Patrick Ward is a native of Galway City and is a member of the Irish travelling community. He graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway with a B.A. (Hons) and Masters in Post Primary education (PME). In addition, Owen is a Programme Coordinator at the Access Centre, NUI Galway, and is a Committee member of Údarás na hOllscoile (NUI Galway Governing Authority), and a member of the University of Sanctuary initiative, Places of Sanctuary Ireland, European Roma Rights Centre, as well as numerous Irish Traveller organisations. Owen has worked as an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion policy advisor to primary, post primary schools, and third level institutions (NUI Galway) in addition to advising the Council of Europe and Roma Youth. Owen has worked extensively with the Access Centre in partnership with numerous national and local educational, cultural, and community organisations such as the Higher Education Authority (HEA), the Department of Education and Skills (DES), Irish Refugee Council (IRC), Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Western Travellers Intercultural and Development Organisation (WestTrav), Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB), and Galway City Partnership (GCP). Owen also supports students, parents, and carers in an effort to increase participation in third level education. More recently Owen has been heavily involved with mentoring students from ethnic minority groups and those from lower socioeconomic disadvantaged backgrounds in the Attract Transition and Succeed Programme (ATS). In partnership with Traveller students, Owen Co-founded ‘Mincéirs Whiden Society’ at NUI Galway, the first Traveller student society within a University in Ireland. Owen is committed to promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion in addition to ensuring a voice for those from ethnic minority groups and lower socioeconomic backgrounds through informing inclusive policies based on both experience and evaluation of current policies and practices.
Migrant Integration Strategy 2017-2020
The Migrant Integration Strategy 2017-2020 is a whole-of-Government Strategy for promoting the integration of all legally resident migrants in Ireland. It was adopted by Government in February 2017. Its vision is that migrants are facilitated to play a full role in Irish society, that integration is a core principle of Irish life and that Irish society and institutions work together to promote integration.
The Strategy contains 76 actions to be carried out by Government bodies and others over the four year strategy period in the areas of Access to Citizenship and Long Term Residency; Access to Public Services and Social Inclusion; Education; Employment and Pathways to Work; Health; Integration in the Community; Political Participation; Promoting Intercultural Awareness and Combating Racism and Xenophobia; Volunteering; and Sport. It also requires Government Departments and Agencies to have regard to the need to promote integration through their mainstream policies and programmes.
Progress on the Strategy is monitored by a Committee Chaired by Mr David Stanton TD, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration. The Committee includes representatives of Government Departments and Agencies with responsibilities for delivering specific actions under the Strategy and also representatives of non-governmental organisations working in the area of migrant integration.
National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021
The Government published the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017–2021 in June 2017. The Strategy represents a whole of Government approach to bring about meaningful change and progress for the Traveller and Roma community in Ireland and was developed through a dynamic consultative process which involved Travellers and Roma at every stage. It brings Government Departments and Agencies together along with representatives of both Traveller and Roma communities to bring a focus to the issues which affect them most in a structured way. Minister of State David Stanton T.D. chairs the quarterly meetings of the NTRIS Steering Group.
The NTRIS contains 149 actions which aim to improve the lives of the Traveller and Roma Communities and which have been grouped under the following ten themes: Cultural Identity, Education, Health, Anti-Discrimination and Equality (which includes measures combating anti-Traveller and Roma racism), Public Services, and Gender Equality.
Secretariat to the Anti-Racism Committee
The Anti-Racism Committee will have a secretariat provided by the Department of Justice and Equality.