The Office of the Minister for Integration continued to co-ordinate integration activities across the public service sector and to provide seed-funding in line with available finances. In 2010, the Office of the Minister for Integration paid grants of €1.2million to local authorities, €398,000 to sporting bodies and €787,000 to other national organisations for the purpose of promoting the integration of immigrants. In addition, the office is the responsible authority in Ireland for the European Refugee Fund and the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals. Pursuant to an earlier call for applications made by Pobal, 23 projects under both Funds commenced and are ongoing.
Ministerial Council on Migrant IntegrationA Ministerial Council was established in 2010 to advise the Minister of State for Integration on issues faced by migrants in Ireland. The Council consists of 74 members and four regional fora (i.e. Connacht/ Ulster, Dublin, Rest of Leinster and Munster). Advertisements seeking applications were placed in national and regional newspapers and just under 500 valid applications for appointment, from seventy six countries, were received. Members of the Council were selected by the then Minister of State for Integration and have been appointed for a period of five years. In making these appointments, the Minister took into account factors such as the need to have a balance between countries of origin, places of residence in Ireland and the desirability of having an appropriate gender balance. All appointments to the Council have now been finalised. The inaugural meetings of the regional fora took place in October/November 2010.
EU DevelopmentsThe then Minister of State for Equality, Integration and Human Rights attended the 4th Ministerial Conference on Integration which took place in Zaragossa in April 2010. The declaration approved at the conference was formally adopted by the EU Council in June 2010. Among other things, the Council called on the Commission to develop a new European agenda on integration, including a co-ordination mechanism as proposed in the Stockholm Programme, and to launch a pilot project with a view to the evaluation of integration policies.
ResettlementThe Resettlement Unit continued to provide support to the two receiving communities of Carlow and Monaghan (Monaghan Town and Carrickmacross) where two groups of refugees, originally from Burma and the Democratic Republic of the Congo respectively, had been resettled in June and November 2009.
During 2010, one family of three Burmese Karen refugees was admitted from Thailand. Four families (16 persons) formerly from Iraq were also resettled.
UNCERDAn Inter-departmental Committee was established to prepare for Ireland's forthcoming examination before the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) which was held in Geneva in February 2011.
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