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’s illicit indoor sex industry churns out profits of between €180 million and €250 million a year from about 1,000 women – nine out of 10 of them migrants – and an unknown but significant number of children working in the industry. By Nusha Yonkova, Anti-trafficking Co-ordinator with the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems is, for many people, as difficult to manage as the experience of being unwell. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that stigma and the associated discrimination comprise the ‘single most important barrier’ facing people with mental health problems. By Rachel Wright, See Change Campaign Coordinator.
Crime has been notably absent as an issue in this election campaign. From one perspective this may be positive – the cynical politicisation of crime and public fear in the 1997 election campaign is at the root of many of the problems in our criminal justice system today. By Liam Herrick of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)
On reading the election manifestos of the main political parties and the United Left Alliance there is no doubting the nearly everyone standing for election sees jobs, their maintenance and creation, as a critical issue in this election. There are similarities across many of the manifestos as they identify the need to build on the country’s strengths from the potential of the agri-business to the potential of the green economy.
Thankfully at this stage all the political parties have finally released their Election Manifestos so as voters, we can finally assess them and make an informed decision ahead of Election Day on 25 February. Along with unemployment, housing is one of the main areas concerning voters and quite rightly so. By Aoife Walsh of Respond.
Ireland has a poor record when it comes to children’s rights. In our political system children have long been set low on the list of priorities for Ireland’s leaders. This has been especially true for children who live in marginalised communities; communities struggling with disadvantage and all the difficulties that can bring - unemployment, poverty and crime. The State has failed to adequately provide for or protect children living in these communities. By Catherine Joyce of Barnardos
Since the onset of the economic downturn, the Adult Learning organisation AONTAS has witnessed an unprecedented increase in the demand for learning support and services. The number of adults contacting us for information increased from 3,845 in 2007 to almost double at 6,548 in 2009. By Niamh Farren of AONTAS.
'The electorate is exhausted – and there's weeks to go'. So declared the headline on Ann Marie Hourihane's typically entertaining column in the Irish Times on 7 February, as the second week of official campaigning began. By Angela Long