This is an overview of Ireland's changed migration landscape, followed by a description of The One Foundation's (OF) thinking on measures to effect change in response to a growing immigrant population, and the investments made to achieve its goal -- to make immigrant rights real in Ireland. A case study of an investment in the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) follows to provide a deeper understanding of some advocacy approaches taken, their impact, and lessons learned.
  • Some legislation has been enacted with increased protections (e.g. on worker exploitation and means of redress). The government has delivered secondary legislation on forced labour and trafficking, and there have been advances on migrant workers' protections. An Immigration Residence and Protection Bill is pending and should at least provide clarity and transparency on terms and conditions of immigration, residence and protection measures for immigrants.
  • There has been significant mainstreaming of information on immigrant rights. For example, from a base of zero in 2009, 80% of Citizen Information Centres (CICs) around the country should have received training on migrant issues by end 2013.
  • There has been a marked increase in the number (and quality) of local integration plans, from a base of 10% in 2009 to an anticipated 88% of local authorities having plans by end 2013.
  • There is a more coherent immigrant NGO sector that at the very least collaborates on certain agreed advocacy issues, campaigns and actions - for example, in relation to legislation on forced labour and the new IRP Bill.
  • There is now a substantial body of evidence on immigrant experiences in Ireland in employment, social services, immigration procedures etc.
  • While it is difficult to attribute social cohesion benefits to the cumulative effect of grantees' work, their contribution alongside that of many organisations working to promote integration, equality and anti-racism was best framed in terms of what has not happened: Ireland hasn't had the race riots that have happened in other countries.
  • Despite some serious setbacks raised in the FOMACS report on media representations, public discourse has advanced at the very least in a positive direction to reflect a growing appreciation of diversity, an awareness of the permanence of Ireland's multiculturalism, and an intolerance of racism. However, recent opinion polls highlight the need for continued vigilance and demonstrate how fragile the base of support is for migrant rights given renewed net emigration."
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