New government must make new Irish part of nation

There is need for the incoming government to make national provisions for the employment, education, social inclusion and active citizenship of new communities that have made Ireland their home. One of the inevitable issues of this election campaign is unemployment. Notably, non-Irish nationals have experienced a more severe decrease in employment than Irish-nationals. However, election candidates are yet to highlight plans to increase training, employment andbusiness opportunities for immigrants.

Ireland is a diverse country and needs to take advantage of the opportunities presented through diversity and integration. Economic recovery should draw on the wide range of skills and experiences that immigrants have brought to Ireland.

Dr. Anthony Finn, Interim CEO of The Integration Centre says: “Innovative thought must gointo shaping our business strategies for the future. Policies which strangle entrepreneurial spirit,such as the business permit scheme wherein non-EU immigrants without a residency permit may not set up a business in Ireland without a €300,000 investment, cannot continue to hamper growth unheeded.”

The Centre, alongside many other civil society organisations, is concerned that the current citizenship and long-term residency regimes are neither fair nor transparent. Unlike other EU countries, Ireland's long-term residency is available only for work-permit holders and subject to renewal every five years. We call on the incoming government to eliminate discretionary decision-making, and introduce a fair and transparent process, to include non-EU nationals who wish to secure permanent residency and citizenship in Ireland.

It is vital to make Human Rights a foundation of Irish Immigration policy. The Immigration, Residence and Protection (IRP) Bill 2010, which has yet to become law, provides for the summary removal of migrants and those in need of protection, without fair access to effective remedies to challenge decisions affecting their human rights.

If this Bill becomes law it will trample on immigrants' civil and fundamental rights, therefore we ask that this aspect of the Bill is amended.

Recent research alludes to an increase in racism in Ireland, especially among young people in ourschools and colleges. New approaches to tackle racism and promote diversity in Ireland must be
a part of the national policies of the succeeding government.

The Integration Centre also supports the immediate abolition of direct provision for persons seeking asylum in Ireland, as opposed to the six months systematic review, which Fine Gael has suggested. Under the direct provision scheme, persons seeking asylum experience poverty, psychological distress and are susceptible to social exclusion, as a result of the poor accommodation and minimal cash allowance received monthly.


The Integration Centre is a non-government organisation committed to the integration and inclusion of people from immigrant backgrounds in Ireland. As an organisation that specialises in the planning and monitoring of integration, we approve of an incoming government that will commit to promoting, and supporting the integration of theimmigrant population within the political, social and economic life of Ireland.For further information contact: Helena Clarke on 01 645 3088; 1st and 2nd Floors, 18 DameStreet Dublin 2,