Parties need to do more to integrate migrants into politics, report finds

Parties need to do more to integrate migrants into politics, report finds

Political parties are failing to fully engage and integrate migrants in Irish politics, according to a new report.

Research from the Immigrant Council of Ireland, which examined the experience of migrant candidates in May 2019's local elections, said more can, and should be done to help integrate immigrants into the wider communities.

It found migrant participation in politics remains very low, but overall, migrant candidates felt running in the election was a positive experience.

The immigrant council says greater efforts from political parties to diversify membership and support candidates, plus nationwide activities to tackle racism, are needed.

“In the May 2019 local elections just 56 of the over 1,900 candidates were from a migrant background, and ultimately just nine were voted in out of total of 949 local councillors," outlined Brian Killoran, CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland.

"The Immigrant Council of Ireland commissioned research into the experience of candidates from a migrant background to help identify what motivated them to run, along with what helped and hindered their campaign.

“The majority of respondents cited their knowledge and engagement with local issues plus a desire to improve and enrich their local community as reasons for running. Many of those who ran had a natural interest but did not know how to get involved in politics in Ireland.

Longford County Councillor Uruemu Adejinmi said that the parties have to do more to get immigrants involved in politics in Ireland.

"There is a need for political parties to develop mechanisms to promote immigrant participation in politics for a more inclusive society," the Fianna Fáil representative said.

After failing to win a seat in the 2019 local election, Ms Adejinmi was co-opted onto the council after Joe Flaharty was elected to the Dáil earlier this year.

“I know there are many more like me already making massively valuable contributions to their local communities, who would be a huge asset to the Irish political system," she said.

"But they need to know this is an option for them and be supported to run."

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