National StrategiesIn 2005, the Government launched the National Action Plan Against Racism (2005-2008) (NPAR), a four year programme designed to provide strategic direction to combat racism and develop a more inclusive and intercultural society in Ireland. Under the Plan, support was provided towards the development of a number of national and local strategies promoting greater integration in our workplaces, in the police service, the health service, in our education system, in the arts and within our local authorities. These strategies continue to be implemented.
In May 2007, an election led to the formation of a new Government who agreed the Programme for Government 2007-2012. The Programme contained a commitment to effective integration and sets out a number of actions including the development of a national integration policy and the appointment of a Minister of State to implement the policy. The Office of the Minister for Integration (now the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration) was set up to put the Programme commitments into practice.
The 2011 Programme for Government commits to promote policies which integrate minority ethnic groups in Ireland, and which promote social inclusion, equality, diversity and the participation of immigrants in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities.
The Irish Government also indicated its ongoing and long-term commitment towards the integration process through the launch of the National Development Plan 2007-2013 in 2007, with an indication that some €36m would be invested across government departments over the lifetime of the Plan to support the integration of immigrants in Ireland. The National Development Plan and also the National Report for Ireland on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008-2010 (NSSPI) recognise integration as “one of the most important challenges being faced by Irish society”.
In May 2008, the Office of the Minister for Integration published Migration Nation, which develops a broader approach to integration strategy and diversity management, based on the Programme for Government 2007-2012.
National strategies have been developed in the following areas and continue to be implemented. Several of these strategies (e.g the Intercultural Education Strategy) flowed from recommendations of the National Action Plan Against Racism 2005-2008: -
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