Funding to Irish Migrant Groups Under Threat

A recently launched report into new communities in Ireland has revealed how the long-term future of immigrant advocacy in Ireland may now be in jeopardy. This is because the two philanthropic bodies that fund much of the work done in this area - Atlantic Philanthropies and the One Foundation - will both have ceased to provide financial support to migrant groups by 2016.

The report, published by Prospectus Consultants (on behalf of the One Foundation), examines the funding challenges facing the 190 migrant organisations active in Ireland today. The report was compiled through extensive consultations with migrant groups, civil society groups and government representatives.

Some of the key issues identified in the report include:

  • Lack of shared understanding between government and NGOs on what "integration" means and what a healthy integration policy should consist of
  • Lack of public understanding of migration issues
  • Lack of hard data to assist in making informed decisions on how to allocate resources, make policy and deliver services.

The report also lays discusses the concerns of many NGOs about the existing Government approach to funding in the area of integration. For example, the Minister for Integration, Conor Lenihan, has identified faith-based organisations, local authorities and political parties as possibly being suitable for State support. This however would exclude most of the major national migrant organisations as they do not fall under any of these three categories.

Speaking to the Irish Times last week, the Director of Prospectus, Katie Burke said: "Because these organisations are funded primarily by philanthropy and with various levels of Government support, sustainability is a major challenge. Many organisations feel that current Government policy, focusing on providing funding for 'mainstreaming' services, 'migrant-led' organisations and local groups, is a critical issue . . . "

Ms Burke added that NGOs had substantial experience and understanding of the issues, "and it is important that this is acknowledged and utilised".

Visit the Prospectus website to download a copy of the report.


Original source: Irish Times