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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

About the Committee

Page Contents:

Aims of the committee
Strategic Approach
Policy Initiatives
European Year Against Racism (1997)
Terms of Reference

August 2001: Click here for the NCCRI Progress Report 1998-2000

Aims of the Committee

The overall aim of the Committee is to provide an ongoing structure to develop programmes and actions aimed at developing an integrated approach against racism and to act in a policy advisory role to the government. The development of such an approach goes hand and hand with the promotion of a more participative and intercultural society which is more inclusive of groups such as refugees, Travellers and other minority ethnic groups. The Committee will seek to integrate its work with other government initiatives and bodies which are working in related areas.

The Committee will build on the work commenced by the Irish National Coordinating Committee of European Year Against Racism (1997), which represented the beginning of a process towards increasing cooperation at both national and European levels in the fight against racism.

The programme is also consistent with the approach advocated by the European Commission’s Action Plan on Racism which emphasises the drawing together of all concerned, including government authorities, non government organisations (NGO’s) social partners, media and other bodies in strategies to address racism in the European Union.

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Strategic Approach

The approach of the National Committee will be of a strategic focused nature, with the emphasis on developing a sustainable approach to address racism and to promote the positive inclusion of minority ethnic groups.

Two levels of action will be pursued

  • Strategic actions aimed at national level mainstreaming the commitment and expertise to address racism in policy making and implementation measures by government and into the approach and concerns of other relevant institutions.
  • Supporting the development of anti racism policy and measures at EU level. Support of projects at local and regional level in the development of anti racism initiatives which are consistent with the approach and aims of the National Committee
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Policy Initiatives

A key part of developing an effective, sustainable approach will be the enhancement of existing and proposed policy, including legislation, with the potential to impact on racism; the development of an anti racism/intercultural dimension to current public policy initiatives and paving the way for new initiatives in this area.

Many national and European policies and programmes in areas such as employment, education, the administration of law and the European Structural funds could contribute positively to to the fight against racism. A key role of the Committee will be to develop this potential by building an anti racism/intercultural dimension into relevant existing and forthcoming policies and programmes.

A number of different forms of racism are evident in the Irish context

  • The racism experienced by the Traveller community based on their distinct culture, and nomadic identity.
  • The racism experienced by refugees and asylum seekers, particularly in recent months with the alarmist response to an increase in the numbers of people seeking asylum in Ireland.
  • The experience of racism of Irish migrants has been well documented.
  • Minority ethnic groups whatever their legal status both EU and non EU citizens experience racism on the basis of skin colour and their ethnicity.
  • Ireland’s links to the ‘third world’ in particular through trade, development education and bilateral aid have the potential to have racist outcomes.

In Ireland there are a number of policy initiatives which have the potential to impact on racism, including

  • The Report of the Task force on the Travelling Community (1995) and the establishment of a monitoring Committee to oversee its implementation and the commitments given in the pre election Fianna Fáil policy statement‘ New Deal for the Travelling Community’ (1997)
  • The enactment of the Employment Equality Bill (1998) and the introduction of the Equal Status Bill which seeks to prevent discrimination on a range of grounds including race, colour, ethnic or national origin or membership of the Travelling Community in the employment and the non employment areas, respectively. A new Equality Authority will be established to oversee and monitor the legislation
  • The commitment by the government to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination following enactment of the equality legislation.
  • The commitments in Partnership 2000 to equality proofing of government policies and procedures; the potential of the Strategic Management Initiative and the National Anti Poverty Strategy to impact on racism.
  • Initiatives in the area of education, including the revision of school curricula and the designation of a day for all schools to focus on the issues of racism and Interculturalism
  • The undertaking of focussed research into aspects of racism and Interculturalism which could inform future policy initiatives
  • Government commitments in relation to development aid and education
  • The Agreement reached in the multi-party negotiations signed in Belfast in April 1998 which makes specific reference to human rights protection
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European Year Against Racism

1997 was designated European year Against Racism by the European Council of Ministers and members states. In Ireland a National Coordinating Committee of government departments/agencies and non government organisations was established by the Department of Equality and Law Reform. A key aim of the Year was the development of sustainable policies to address racism particularly at national level.

There were a wide range of outcomes from the 1997, European Year against Racism which are relevant to the work of the national Consultative Committee. These include a range of initiatives in relation to the racism experienced by Refugees and asylum seekers, Travellers and other Black and minority ethnic groups In Ireland. The National Committee established to coordinate the year developed a number of strategic programmes on Education; the Workplace; Women; the Strategic Management Initiative/National Anti Poverty Strategy; the media and development aid/education. There was also a significant North/South dimension to the Year focused on training exchange of information and best practice and the identification of further areas for future cooperation.

The report of 1997 European Year Against Racism is available from Government publications, Sun Alliance Building, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

In the Report of the Year by the National Coordinating Committee, four key recommendations were made:

  1. Advisory Committee on Racism and Interculturalism

    To progress the work commenced as part of the EYAR, the National Coordinating Committee recommended, to the Department of Justice Equality and law Reform, the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Racism and Interculturalism with a budget to cover core staffing, programme resourcing research and a fund for local actions.

  2. Equality Proofing

    To ensure that the needs of minority ethnic groups, including Travellers and Black people; refugees and asylum seekers, become mainstream concerns of government Departments, Equality and anti poverty objectives of public policy should include a focus on anti racism and the positive inclusion of minority ethnic groups.

  3. Commitments in Existing Government Policy and Legislation

    The Commitments in existing government policy, reaffirmed during the Dáil debate on racism, on the Equality legislation, monitoring of the Task Force Report on Travellers and the full implementation of the Refugee Act, should be given greater urgency to prevent further slippage in time scales.

  4. Resources to Minority Ethnic Groups

    Many minority ethnic groups receive limited funding. The Committee recommended that existing funding programmes such as the Community Development Programme should enhance their current support and new programmes of support should be developed by other government departments, where appropriate.

    These recommendations will provide the basis for some of the future work of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism.

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Terms of Reference

The particular terms of reference for the Consultative Committee are:

  • To promote integrated Government/NGO dialogue and responses to racism
  • To encourage integrated action towards acknowledging, understanding and celebrating cultural diversity
  • To provide a national framework for reacting and responding to, and consulting with EU, UN and other international bodies, eg the EU Monitoring Centre, in relation to racism and Interculturalism
  • To promote and maximise Ireland's participation in and benefit from EU and other programmes in this area.
  • To promote the development and continuation of integrated strategic initiatives to address racism and promote Interculturalism.
  • To further address and research the needs identified regarding racism and further develop partnership structures which evolved during European Year Against Racism
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This section sets out in broad terms the priorities for the Committee over the next three years. As already outlined in this document, the emphasis of the National Committee will be to develop long term and sustainable measures to address racism and to promote the positive inclusion of minority ethnic groups. the priority areas of work are as follows:

  1. Refugees and asylum seekers
  2. Travellers, Gypsies and Roma
  3. Strategic Policy Initiatives
  4. Women
  5. Education
  6. North/South dimension
  7. Media
  8. Development Aid and Education
  9. Impacting on Policy at European level
  10. Research
  11. Regional and Local Focus

A newsletter will be produced on a quarterly basis. If you want to become part of our mailing list please write or fax in details to :

The National Consultative Committee
26 Harcourt Street
Dublin 2

Fax (01) 4785778

Page Contents:
Aims of the committee
Strategic Approach
Policy Initiatives
European Year Against Racism (1997)
Terms of Reference
Top of the Page

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