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New report calls out Govt over diversity policy

Last update - Thursday, March 11, 2010, 10:55 By Catherine Reilly

POLITICIANS MAY wax lyrical on the ‘benefits of diversity’ and immigrants’ contribution to Irish society, but their policies sing to a vastly different tune, says a new publication.

Hidden Agenda, Overt Messages – authored by ex-Equality Authority chief Niall Crowley and published by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) – says that while politicians make “carefully positive” statements on the “valuable presence and contribution” of immigrants, they communicate “another set of more hidden messages” in policy proposals.
The pamphlet, released this week, contrasts positive political statements on immigrants with unfriendly procedures such as long waiting times for citizenship.
“During 2008 there was an average waiting period of 23 months for citizenship applications to be decided, according to figures released by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in May 2009,” it noted.
The MCRI pamphlet also refers to October 2008’s budget as having “silenced and dismantled the statutory infrastructure developed to promote equality”, including a 43 per cent cut to the Equality Authority’s budget and the scrapping of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI).
The study recommends investment in procedures that address barriers to equality for migrant workers and their families posed by economic recession. It also urges “effective and political responsibility” for any mixed messaging surrounding immigrants.

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