Fingal County Council launch their Migrant Integration & Social Cohesion strategy 2019-2024

Fingal County Council work to meet the needs of a growing diverse population

The Mayor of Fingal Cllr Eoghan O’Brien recently launched Fingal County Council’s Migrant Integration & Social Cohesion strategy 2019-2024 in County Hall, Swords, north county Dublin. The main goals of the strategy are to ensure Fingal County Council services meet the needs of the diverse population and contribute to making Fingal a place where all who live, work and visit are valued.

Fingal County Council believes this strategy is necessary for migrants, or people from a migrant background, as nearly 1 in 6 people living in Fingal are non-Irish nationals. Fingal’s population is fast approaching 300,000 people; with nearly 16% of those residents being non-Irish nationals. This contrasts with the national migrant figure of 11%. Rizwan Zahid, a Comhairle na nÓg member, was present to speak at the launch from a younger generations perspective.

In 6 of the 42 electoral divisions, less than half the population are ‘white Irish’. Fingal County Council noted that it is thought that the “the family and friends effect” lead to this high concentration of people from a migrant background as people will arrive into an area where a family member or friend has already settled.

Speaking at the launch the Mayor of Fingal Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, said, “This strategy and action plan reinforces Fingal County Council’s commitment to creating a sustainable response to the challenges and opportunities posed by the changing population which it serves.”

“The actions proposed will ensure that services meet the needs of our diverse population and that they are accessible in terms of ease to access to information and available in appropriate languages. Those who have come to live here from around the world have enriched our society in terms of culture, language, new business ideas, social activities and friendships and it is imperative that they continue to feel welcome and at home in Fingal.”

The strategy was a collaboration effort from three key groups; Fingal County Council’s internal working group, Community Integration Advisory Council (CIAC) and an expert Advisory group. A total of 576 took part in the consultation effort providing a wide base of information from people who live in Fingal, Fingal County Council staff and people in other organisations who provide service to migrants in Fingal and nationally. The group was demographically chosen including teenagers from Comhairle na nÓg, Fingal Older People’s Council along with focus groups, key informants, public and staff surveys.

The Migrant Integration Forum, set up by the Public Participation Network (PPN), is made up of representatives from Irish and migrant communities. One of their migrant participants who was appointed to the Migrant Integration Forum stated, “We understand our problem more, know our own issues. Solution lies in ourselves, it’s really important Fingal County Council staff understand us.”

By recognising the multifariousness of their people; Fingal County Council wants to improve diversity by welcoming new business ideas, cultural richness and new language skills. With Fingal having the biggest migrant youth population, there is opportunity to appreciate the socio-economic backgrounds, religious beliefs and customs.