The Programme for Government contains a commitment that we will 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. A number of key departments and agencies have developed specific strategies to ensure that their services respond to Ireland’s changed demographic in an interculturally competent and inclusive manner. The strategies developed include: an Intercultural Health Strategy; an Intercultural Education Strategy; a Cultural and Arts Policy and Strategy; the Garda Síochána Diversity Strategy; and an Action Strategy for Integrated Workplaces.
The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, which is part of my Department, has responsibility for leading and coordinating work relating to the integration of legally resident immigrants. The Office is also responsible for the European Refugee Fund and the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals both of which financially assist integration of members of their target group. From next year, these Funds will be replaced by the Asylum and Migration Fund. Arrangements for this Fund will involve a policy or programming dialogue with the European Commission after which a national multi-annual programme will be drawn up for the period 2014-2020. Funding for integration of immigrants is also provided by my Department from purely national sources subject to the reduced resources which are available for all categories of public expenditure at present.