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The National
Consultative Committee,
26 Harcourt Street,
Dublin 2.
Tel: (01) 4785777
Fax: (01) 4785778

National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism

Report contents:

Preface / Introduction
Work Summary 1998-2000
> Progress Report 1998-01

NCCRI Progress Report 1998-2000: Section 3

Progress Report 1998-2001

The Progress report is structured around the aims and objectives of the NCCRI as set out in its terms of reference. These are summarised as follows:

  1. To act in an advisory role to governmental bodies.
  2. To promote the development and continuation of strategic initiatives.
  3. To encourage action towards supporting cultural diversity.
  4. To develop public awareness and education initiatives.
  5. Responding to and participating in EU, UN and Council of Europe initiatives.

1.0 To act as an advisory role.

One of the key aims of the NCCRI is to act in an advisory role to governmental bodies. The NCCRI continues to meet this key objective through a number of specific mechanisms, including policy submissions, meetings with government Ministers on key issues, presentations to Oireachtas Committees and participation in a wide range of government advisory committees.

1.1 Policy submissions

One of the key mechanisms through which the NCCRI has acted in an advisory role to Government has been through the drawing up of policy submissions to Government following roundtable meetings, seminars and other forms of consultation. Some of the key policy submissions that have been developed to date include the following:

  • The Equal Status Bill.
  • The Human Rights Commission.
  • The Integration of Refugees.
  • Government policy on direct provision and regional resettlement
  • A range of policies related to education.
  • Policing issues.
  • The refugee legal service.
  • The Immigration and Residence Bill.
  • The rights of migrant workers.
  • The National Anti Poverty Strategy.

1.2 Meetings with the Minister on relevant policy issues.

The NCCRI has met with John O Donoghue, TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on a number of formal and informal occasions to discuss issues related to the role and remit of the NCCRI. The NCCRI has also met or has corresponded with other senior Ministers and senior civil servants on relevant issues related to the role and work of the NCCRI.

1.3 Presentations to the Oireachtas Committees

The NCCRI has made presentations to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Human Rights on the Equal Status Bill and the legislation to establish a Human Rights Commission. The NCCRI has also made a presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs in relation to the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

1.4 Participation in Government Advisory Committees

The NCCRI has played in active role in contributing to anti racism and intercultural policy through participation in a wide range of advisory and sub committees established by the Department of the Taoiseach, Department of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Health and Children and the Equality Authority. Areas of concern include children’s rights, legal protection, customer services, promoting equality and human rights.

1.5 Outcomes from the Advisory Role

The outcomes from the advisory role of the NCCRI can measured in a number of different ways. Sometimes there is clear acknowledgement of the role of the NCCRI in developing policy at other times it is acknowledged that the NCCRI has contributed to the development of policy as part of a wider process of policy development where is more difficult to identify individual contributions. Some examples of the outcomes of these interventions are as follows:

  • Acknowledgement of the role of the NCCRI in contributing to the Report of the Working Group on the Integration of Refugees ‘Refugees- a Two Way Process’. The NCCRI contributed to the development of policy through a detailed policy submission and through discussions with asylum policy division of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

  • Government clarification of the inclusion of statutory agencies under the provisions of the Equal Status Bill. The NCCRI commissioned the Law School in Trinity College Dublin to undertake research on the potential impact of the Equal Status Bill, which resulted in government clarification of the inclusion of statutory agencies under the provisions of the Bill.

  • Contributing to the debate to create a strong and independent Human Rights Commission. In addition to organising seminars on the proposed Human Rights Commission, the NCCRI made a presentation to the relevant Dail Committee and advocated and supported some of changes that were included in the subsequent legislation.

  • Contributing to ensuring the strong commitments to interculturalism and equality in the White Paper on Adult Education. Following policy submissions and meetings with the Department of Education and Science, the White Paper on adult education contained strong commitments to interculturalism and equality that were not evident in the Green Paper.

  • Contributing to the debate and rationale for the establishment of a monitoring committee for the refugee legal service: The NCCRI organised a number of meetings related to the need to establish a mechanism to oversee and advise the refugee legal service. A monitoring committee was subsequently established by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

  • Developing an evaluation and plan for the forthcoming £4.5m national anti racism public awareness programme in Ireland. The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform requested the NCCRI to prepare an evaluation/plan to advise them on the development of a national public awareness programme. Most of the key conclusions from this Evaluation were subsequently accepted and endorsed by Government.

  • The key advisory and implementing role of the NCCRI in organising the national preparations for the European conference and Global Summit on racism.

  • Highlighting the need for a review of the Prohibition of the Incitement to Hatred Act, which was announced by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform at the national conference on racism co-hosted by the NCCRI in September 2000.

  • Highlighting the need for racism to be included under the Government’s National Anti Poverty Strategy (NAPS), which was subsequently reflected in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness where racism was defined as an ‘emerging form of poverty’.

  • Contributing to the development of an equality agenda under the Quality Customer Service Initiative of the Strategic Management Initiative (SMI)

2.0 To promote the development and continuation of strategic initiatives to address racism and promote interculturalism

One of the NCCRI’s primary roles is to promote integrated Government and NGO dialogue to address racism. The primary mechanism to progress this agenda is through the work of the NCCRI Board and its sub committees and through developing strategic links with other national organisations with the potential to impact on racism. Initiatives related to the development and continuation of strategic initiatives to address racism and promote interculturalism include:

  • The development of strategic initiatives on a North/South basis Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, organising a roundtable and subsequent report.

  • Ensuring that the needs of minority ethnic women are included in forthcoming national childcare initiatives.

  • Ensuring the need of minority ethnic children are included in the national childcare strategy.

  • Community development strategies to resource and support groups working with refugees and asylum seekers.

  • Organising a range of national and regional roundtables to contribute to the goal of drawing together key government and non-government agencies in addressing racism and promoting a more inclusive, intercultural society (see below).

  • Initiatives related to building an anti racism dimension into the National Anti Poverty Strategy and the Strategic Management Initiative.

  • Advising An Gardai Síochána and facilitating the participation of NGO’s in their ‘policing in an intercultural society’ initiative. Advising on training materials, codes of practice and reporting of racist incidents.

  • In partnership with ADM organising a conference (attendance 270) in Dublin Castle on the inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in the Local Development Programme.

2.1 Roundtables

National and regional roundtables are a very important way of involving key sectors in the initiatives that the NCCRI has prioritised. Roundtables were held on the following issues: (attendance in brackets)

  • The Equal Status Act (70)
  • The Proposed Harmonisation of asylum and immigration policy at EU level. (30)
  • Developing a North/South Agenda to address racism (40)
  • National Childcare Policy. (60)
  • Policing issues. (30)
  • The Human Rights Commission legislation. (70)
  • The EU Directives arising out of Article 13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam. (30)
  • Regional Roundtables on racism in Galway. (50)
  • Information meetings on racism in Cork. (50)
  • Information meetings on developing community development responses to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Dublin (100), Wexford (90) and Letterkenny (70)
  • Building a gender dimension into refugee and asylum policy (20)
  • The rights of migrant workers (40)

2.2 Outcomes

There is a broad range of outcomes to these initiatives. In particular the roundtables have provided the ‘space’ to facilitate government and NGO discussion and action on the issues of racism and related policy. In this regard the NCCRI has sought to work as a catalyst to develop both national more localised strategies to address racism.

Roundtable meetings throughout the country have also served as a valuable resource in providing accurate and up to date information on related policy issues. They have also allowed participants to consider the most appropriate models for policy responses at regional and local level.

To resource this process the NCCRI has established community development unit, which is funded by the Department of Social Community and Family affairs under the Community Development Programme.

3.0 To encourage integrated action towards acknowledging, understanding and celebrating cultural diversity

Acknowledging and responding to cultural diversity and the promotion of intercultural approaches are relatively new concepts in Ireland. However there are a range of government policies arenas, such as the area of education, where new policy initiatives are beginning to reflect commitments to diversity and equality. A key part of the work of the NCCRI is concerned with consolidating and enhancing intercultural approaches within education policy and promoting the development of intercultural approaches in other key arenas of public policy. Initiatives in this area include:

  • Policy submissions related to the promotion of an intercultural approach to education policy.
  • Supporting the production of resource materials for the CPSE programme by the Curriculum Development Unit.
  • A roundtable meeting on intercultural education held in May 2000 and subsequent report.
  • The small grant-fund which resources initiatives at both local and national level to address racism and promote cultural diversity.

3.1 Outcomes

The outcomes of these initiatives include

  • Highlighting and raising awareness of cultural diversity as an on going concern in Irish society.

  • Promoting policies and practices aimed at the positive inclusion of minority ethnic groups into public policy.
  • Funding/part funding a range of anti racism/cultural diversity initiatives at local and national level

4.0 Increase awareness of racism and interculturalism through working with government authorities on public education, awareness initiatives and research programmes

The NCCRI will be participating in the national public awareness programme on racism that will be coordinated by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law reform. The Evaluation/Plan for the Programme was drawn up by the NCCRI following an extensive consultation process. The awareness programme will seek to build on the previous work of the NCCRI and agencies such as the Equality Authority through the ‘True Colours’ initiative and public awareness strategies undertaken during European Year Against Racism in 1997. The NCCRI also participated in related initiatives such as ‘racism in the workplace week’. The NCCRI is also developing its capacity to develop a strategic and resourced approach to anti-racism training and the development of resource materials. A summary of the initiatives undertaken in this area include:

  • An Evaluation to undertake the national anti-racism public awareness programme to be submitted to Government by July 2000
  • The True Colours initiative undertaken in November 1999
  • The development of the NCCRI website and newsletter.

  • Providing high quality anti racism training initiatives to a range of statutory and non-statutory agencies.
  • Political party protocol and declaration

  • Developing guidelines on standards and expectations on anti racism training.

4.1 Outcomes

The outcomes from these initiatives includes:

  • Working in partnership with NGO’s and statutory organisations to highlight the issue of racism.

  • Preparation of the groundwork for the national anti racism national public awareness programme, including consultation with the key stakeholders.
  • Developing a framework for the development of anti racism training in partnership with key organisations that are also working in this area.

5.0 Providing a national framework for reacting and responding to, and consulting with EU, UN and other international bodies.

The NCCRI is continuing to deepen its contacts and relationships with key EU, UN and other international bodies, including the European Commission; the European Parliament; EU Monitoring Committee on Racism and Xenophobia; The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI); The European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

  • Providing a mechanism for representatives from Ireland on relevant international committee to engage with key organisations working on racism and Interculturalism in Ireland

  • Developing a national focus for the RAXEN initiative in Ireland as part of the National Focal Point, in partnership with the Equality Authority.

  • Playing an active role with the relevant government departments in the preparations for the European and world conferences on racism

  • Building the expertise and previous work developed in Ireland on the racism experienced by Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

  • Promoting and maximising Ireland’s participation in and benefit from EU and other programmes in this area.

  • Discussion on specific areas of EU policy including Directives arising out of Article 13 and the proposed harmonisation of EU

  • Preparation for the European conference and forthcoming global summit on racism.

5.1 Outcomes

  • Contributing to the development of pan-European approaches to addressing racism.
  • Contributing to the European preparations for the Global Summit on racism.
  • Dissemination of information in Ireland on policy developments at European level.
  • Contributing to the collection of data and good practice related to racism and anti racism initiatives.

6.0 Profile and Establishment Issues

6.1 Profile

The public profile of the NCCRI has increased significantly through a number of strategies, including:

  • Responding to requests from the media for information.
  • Highlighting the work of the NCCRI through our own seminars and events and responding to frequent requests for speakers at public events.
  • Through the NCCRI website and the newsletter.
  • Through speaking engagements and public meetings.

6.2 Establishment issues

The remit and capacity of the NCCRI has developed strongly since it was established. This is reflected in the rise in core funding to the NCCRI from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform from 1998 to the present


Core Funding


£ 20,000


£ 90,000





In addition to the rise in core funding, the NCCRI has been allocated a further £50,000 from the Department of Social Community and Family Affairs to cover the period 2000-2002. This reflects positively on the work of the NCCRI to date, but also creates a range of challenges on how best to maximise the impact of the extended role of the National Consultative Committee over the next three years.

6.3 The optimum future role for the NCCRI

The NCCRI will seek to continue to work closely with bodies such as the Equality Authorities, the Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Divisions of Government Departments to ensure that emerging institutions work in a way that is complimentary and which encourages synergies of action and approach. The NCCRI will seek to develop an optimum role, taking into account these recent developments and consulting closely with the organisations we work with.

Report contents:

Preface / Introduction
Work Summary 1998-2000
> Progress Report 1998-01

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