Month: November 2009

Support CDPs and Migrant-led organisations

Copy of a letter I sent to the Irish Times:

Ronit Lentin
Department of Sociology
TCD

Madam,

The shortsightedness of the government’s plans to subsume community development projects in area partnerships (Letters, 25 November) was eloquently articulated by four community activists on Vincent Browne’s TV3 show on the same day. Cathleen O’Neill of Kilbarrack CDP, Rita Fagan of St Michael’s Family Resource Centre, Bronagh O’Neill of the Canal Equality Campaign and Margaret O’Shea of the Kerry Network for People with Disabilities highlighted the services CDPs provide, often by volunteers, to their communities, and the loss to theses communities of taking the projects away from the people they are serving. The transfer to area partnerships has been decided upon without consultation and it is evident that now more than ever CDPs are both ‘good value’ and essential in providing services such as childcare, after school care, programmes for women and disabled people, not provided by the state and local authorities. Read more

Diversity and the turban, yet again

sikh-policeAn Garda Siochána have again made it absolutely clear that they do not want foreigners in the police force. In 2007, having appealed for recruits from what is euphemistically called Ireland’s ‘new communities’, it refused to allow a Sikh volunteer to the Garda reserve force to wear his turban on duty. The Garda explicitly denied that the turban ban was based on race or religion, but rather on the imperative to provide an ‘impartial police service’ requiring, among other things, ‘our standard uniform and dress’. According to Kevin O’Donoghue, Head of the Garda Press and Public Relations, ‘within the principles of an intercultural approach, An Garda Siochána is not advocating one religious belief over another, nor are we, in any way, being racist. We are attempting to… retain an image of impartiality while providing a State service to all citizens’. At the same time, An Garda declined to rule out the wearing of Catholic religious symbols such as crucifixes, Lenten ashes and pioneer pins. Read more

Where are the migrants?

The outburst by the Mayor of Limerick, who called for ‘anybody’ living in Ireland who cannot afford to pay for him/herself to be deported after three months, has highlighted the absence of concern for migrants living in Ireland in the current debates about the recession.  While concern has been rightly voiced in relation to people living on welfare and those in low paid jobs, no such concern has been voiced in relation to migrants, many of whom were invited or attracted to Ireland to fill labour market vacancies not filled by Irish workers. Indeed, as the Limerick Mayor insisted, ‘during the good times it was grand but we can’t afford the current situation unless the EU is willing to step in and pay for non-nationals.’ Read more