Tomorrow is your Chance to Vote in the Irish General Election.
What do your local representatives have to say about immigrant integration?
The DLREMI Forum supports active civic participation of New Irish citizens in their adopted society and would like to facilitate this process by presenting the views of local candidates on where they stand on the issue of immigrant integration.
We asked the 2016 General Election candidates in the Dún Laoghaire constituency about their definition of immigrant integration. We also asked the candidates to specify what are in their view the top 3 issues and challenges facing immigrant and ethnic communities in Dún Laoghaire county and how would they address them if elected to Dáil Éireann.
Here is what the three candidates who replied had to say: (in order of who responded first!)
Fianna Fáil General Election Candidate
Tel: (01) 275 0786
All residents of Ireland should be given the opportunity to be active members of our society. In some instances, people who were born outside of Ireland but now live here may need additional support. I favour providing support to ethnic minority groups and migrant led organisations to ensure their members have access to education, healthcare and other essential services. Should I be elected to parliament I look forward to continuing to work with advocacy groups like the DLR Ethnic Minority Integration Forum to improve legislation in this area.
Renua Ireland General Election Candidate
Tel: 087 2355787
I have been an immigrant in Barcelona and St Petersburg so I have some understanding of how it feels.
I imagine the biggest issues facing immigrants here is the cost and availability of housing, and finding a school for their children. We at Renua have a policy to build 40000 houses therefore increasing supply thus reducing prices. We will do this using the German model of financing using pension funds to invest in long term secure finance. I support the open your gates campaign which would ensure that no child could be disadvantaged due to race or religion.
Cllr Carrie Smyth
Labour Party General Election Candidate
Tel: 086 3835051
Ireland's population is more diverse than ever before and embraces new communities from across the world.
We need appropriate integration structures to assist in social cohesion. Labour in government has worked with Migrant Groups to look at new ways to develop better integration practices.
We also established a nationwide Polish–Irish festival recognising the unique position of the Polish diaspora – one of the largest ex-pat communities in Ireland.
The implementation of the new National Integration Strategy will be a key priority for Labour in the next government. We will create local integration strategies and guidelines for all community groups in receipt of public funding. The new strategy will look at ways to encourage participation in public life, including politics, for migrants and their families.
The Labour Party will introduce, on a one-off basis, an earned regularisation scheme for undocumented migrants living in Ireland. This scheme will be both pragmatic and fair and will be developed in consultation with migrant NGOs and the relevant government departments within the lifetime of the next government.
Ensuring a fair and humane system for asylum and refugee applications remains a core task. In government Labour has overseen the publication of a report into the Protection Process including the Direct Provision System. This report included 176 recommendations some of which we have begun to implement including the waiving of prescription charges for those living in direct provision and increasing the rate allowance paid to children living in these centres.
We have also introduced a Protection Bill which will see new applications for asylum processed more quickly to ensure people are not left living in limbo for many years while their application is pending. If re-elected we will continue to implement the recommendations within the report to ensure that those seeking asylum are treated with dignity and respect whilst they await the outcome of their application. We will also continue to work on developing comprehensive immigration legislation, which is transparent and clear for those wishing to work and live in the state.
Labour will work to ensure a tolerant, welcoming society for new citizens and minorities.
Here is the complete list of candidates that DLREMIF contacted:
1. Carol Hunt, Independent
2. Cllr Carrie Smyth, Labour Party
3. Cllr Mary Hanafin, Fianna Fáil
4. Cllr Cormac Devlin Fianna Fáil
5. Cllr Maria Bailey, Fine Gael
6. Cllr Shane O’Brien, Sinn Féin
7. Frank Cronin, Renua Ireland
8. Mary Mitchell-O’Connor TD, Fine Gael
9. Ossian Smyth, Green Party
10. Raymond Whitehead
11. Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Anti-Austerity Alliance People Before Profit
We would like to thank Cllr Cormac Devlin, Frank Cronin and Cllr Carrie Smyth for taking the time out of their busy campaign schedule to answer our questions and share their perspective on such important issue like the integration of immigrants. We appreciate their dedication and commitment to support the integration process of immigrant and ethnic communities in Dún Laoghaire area.
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