Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (162)

John Curran


162. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which he plans to address the recent report by the human rights agency of the European Union that Ireland has a disturbing problem with racism and discrimination against migrants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41017/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

A new Anti-Racism Committee will be established later this year. This Committee will review and make recommendations on strengthening the Government’s approach to combating racism and building on the actions currently included in the Migrant Integration Strategy.

The committee’s work will have two strands:

i. a public sector strand to allow for more in-depth discussions of what needs to be done by public sector organisations and how it can be done, and

ii. an expert strand that will consider how to develop a clear understanding of racism, where it occurs, and what can be done to combat it, drawing on international experience.

The new Committee will include representatives of the public, private and voluntary sector and expert views. It will hold a stakeholder dialogues to assess the latest evidence and to identify the views of wider civil society, the business sector, media and other relevant parties. The Committee will also help to generate ideas for reducing racist abuse in the public sphere.

The progress report on the Migrant Integration Strategy 2017-2020 has been submitted to Government. The Strategy is the Government’s framework for tackling barriers to integration and promoting intercultural awareness. It includes actions to combat racism, including strengthening our laws against hate crime; actions by An Garda Síochána to address the under-reporting of racist crime; a commitment from Local Authorities on the early removal of racist graffiti; and Government funding for anti-racism interventions.

The key finding of the Progress Report is the importance of the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to successful integration, and the benefits it brings to all aspects of Irish life. While the progress report highlights a number of successes – including up to €15m granted in Integration Funding Programmes, the research programmes conducted by the ESRI for the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, and the Education (Admissions to Schools) Act 2018 amongst others – the report also helps identify areas where efforts need to intensify in the months ahead. As a result, actions will now be developed to particularly address areas where outcomes for migrants need to be improved. These areas are combatting racism; employment; English language acquisition; and the promotion of integration at the local level.