Friday, October 30, 2009

Integration must not be abandoned in recession- Sr Stan

Prominent campaigner for the disadvantaged and founder of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, has said that Ireland risks a lack of social cohesion if it does not remain committed to the integration of immigrants who have come to the country in recent years.

Speaking at the end of a ‘mentoring programme’ run by the Council, Sr Kennedy said effective integration policies were vital while Ireland went through the current economic recession

She said that despite Central Statistics Office figures that showed Ireland was now again country of net emigration, it would be “very misguided to think this means we no longer need to care about social inclusion. Our communities have changed forever and we are now a diverse society,” she declared.

Sr Kennedy said this fact would not change and Ireland must continue, “to remove barriers to social inclusion so that no group or individual must overcome unnecessary hurdles to achieve their potential.”

"That includes language barriers, educational barriers, recognition of qualifications, employment barriers and attitudinal barriers that lead to exclusion and racism," she said.

The Immigrant Council mentoring programme, which was funded by Pobal, endeavoursto link migrants with Irish people and allows them the opportunity to interact on a personal basis. Under the project, immigrants from Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and the Caribbean were introduced to Irish citizens or people living here for years.

The programme sought to help newcomers integrate by offering practical support and advice.

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