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Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Crowe Addresses Integration Conference

18 August, 2010

Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Crowe addressed the 2nd annual Manyu Elements, Cultural and Developmental Association Conference in Ballymount last Saturday, 14th August. The theme of this year’s conference was An Integrated Ireland for the 21st Century.

Cllr Crowe spoke of how immigration is still a new phenomenon to many Irish and some have yet to adjust to it. He stated that it is only through being pro-active and learning from the mistakes of other countries that true integration in our communities can be achieved.

As an active supporter of the undocumented Irish in the United States, Cllr Crowe urged the Irish Government to not subject immigrants in Ireland who want to work to the same fate as their Irish counterparts in the US.

Councillor Crowe said:

“Current Government policy is undermining the integration process. Funding for anti-racism and integration has been slashed, resulting in the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Inter-culturalism being dissolved and the Equality Authority being rendered almost toothless.

“The Fianna Fáil/Green Coalition Government speaks of Integration yet in practice their actions say something very different. Language support teacher numbers have been reduced, asylum seekers live in crowded conditions apart from the rest of society and the HSE has lost track of a number of unaccompanied children who have entered the state. This is just not acceptable.

“Sinn Féin has called for a complete overhaul of the asylum process, including an end to the direct provision system and letting asylum seekers work while their cases are being processed - as is already the case in every other EU state bar Denmark. We have called for a review of the work permits system, as it still leaves too much scope for exploitation, particularly where domestic workers are concerned. Our party supports the Migrant Rights Centre in their calls to allow workers change jobs within their sector.

“Immigration has brought many benefits to the island of Ireland. We are now a much more diverse and colourful nation than we were twenty years ago. We have been culturally enriched by the foods, fashions and artistic traditions that new communities have brought with them.

“They have also helped us to become a thoroughly modern, first world, 21st century country. Better integration is possible but we need the government to properly fund it and to introduce forward-thinking legislation to support it.” ENDS

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