On Wednesday, 12th of December 2018, Minister of State David Stanton T.D., attended the Diversity Games in Athlone. The initiative was run by Athlone Institute of Technology and Offaly Sports Partnership, who received funding under the Communities Integration Fund 2018. Speaking about the Diversity Games, Minister of State Stanton said:

“Sport plays an important role for successful integration. When participating in sports or joining a sports club, we all know the invaluable lessons that are learned, such as teamwork, comradery and a sense of belonging. Religion, background or skin colour becomes irrelevant. Communication barriers are overcome, because the sport itself becomes the common language. The Migrant Integration Strategy contains a commitment to explore the potential of sport in the integration of all migrants through encouraging active participation, volunteering and involvement for all. Providing funding to local sports initiatives like the Diversity Games which seek to bring diverse communities together, is part of this Government commitment.” 

The inter-schools event was designed to increase the participation and visibility of migrant communities in the sport of athletics. The post primary diversity games built on the success of the inaugural Indoor Diversity Games which were also supported by the Communities Integration Fund. The Games are intended to create awareness of third level educational opportunities for migrants at AIT. Held in the institute’s state-of-the-art International Indoor Arena, the games saw representation from across the Midlands.

The Government’s Migrant Integration Strategy highlights the important role that sport has to play in aiding successful integration. Action 73 of the Strategy states:

“The potential of sport in the integration of migrants will be further explored through encouraging active participation, volunteering and involvement in governance.”