Today, Minister of State for Equality and Integration, David Stanton TD, hosts representatives from local authorities across Ireland in Athlone. This specially organised conference, Supporting Integrated Communities: Linking National and Local Action on Migrant Integration, will discuss Ireland’s strategy to improve the integration of migrants into local communities.
The conference is being organised by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI) at the Department of Justice and Equality. Delegates will explore ways that local and national government can work together to ensure that migrants can play a full part in Ireland’s cities, towns and rural communities.
The one-day conference includes guest speakers from two communities in Spain and Norway, who will each offer an international perspective on the integration of migrants into local life in their countries. Ekain Larrinaga Muguruza is in charge of the Immigration and Interculturality Unit in the Getxo City Council (Basque Country, Spain) and Sølve Særtre works for the City of Bergen (Norway), as a special advisor in the Department for Social Affairs. There will also be a presentation from Dr Robin Wilson, an independent researcher based in Belfast, who serves as adviser to the Council of Europe on intercultural integration. In addition, the conference will feature a workshop facilitated by Joe O’Brien, who is the Integration Outreach Officer with the Immigrant Council of Ireland. Officials from OPMI will present an update on Ireland’s Migrant Integration Strategy, a cross-governmental strategy that includes actions for implementation by Local Authorities, State Agencies and Government Departments.
Opening the Conference, Minister Stanton said: “Local Authorities have a critical role to play in the migrant integration process, so I am delighted that we have the opportunity to engage and learn more about the proactive efforts being taken and how we can work together more effectively. The National Migrant Integration Strategy lays out a clear path for us to improve our migrant integration processes across local and national government. Government is committed to working with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that migrants continue to be welcomed and integrated into Irish life and society.”