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Diasporia News of Thursday, 30 June 2011

Source: AGPI Secretariat

AGPI Deligation meets with Senior Officials

AGPI Deligation meets with Senior Officials of the Departnemt of Justice in Ireland

A five member delegation of the Association of Ghanaian Professionals in Ireland (AGPI) met with senior officials of the Irish Department of Justice, Equality and Defense on the 28th of June 2011. The delegation which was led by the Chairman of AGPI, Dr Vincent Agyapong included; Mr. Kwame Takyi, a Director of AGPI, Mrs. Christine Appiah, the Organising Secretary, Mrs. Belinda Agyapong, the Programme Director and Mr. Thorsby Attipoe, a member of AGPI.

The meeting was at the invitation of the Senior Officials of the Department and was held at the conference room of the Office of Migrant Promotion in Dublin. The purpose of the meeting was to allow the Department learn more about the activities of the AGPI and to inform the Officials about some of the challenges affecting the smooth integration of immigrants in Ireland. The meeting was also to allow the AGPI delegation present the highlights of the associations recently held international workshop on racism to the Minister for Justice, Mr. Alan Shatter.

Welcoming the AGPI delegation to the meeting, a Principal Officer of the Department of Justice, Ms Anne O’Gorman said the Department saw the AGPI as partners in community development and that the Department was interested in learning from the AGPI about some of the challenges facing the smooth integration of migrants as well as suggestions about how best to address those challenges. She expressed her delight with the ability of the AGPI to source European Commission funding at a time when funding was becoming increasingly scarce.

Responding, Dr Agyapong thanked the Minister of Justice and his Senior Officials for facilitating the meeting which he described as a very timely and useful engagement which he hoped would bring the Department closer to the door steps of some of the challenges facing immigrants in Ireland.

The AGPI delegation then briefed the senior officials about the AGPI’s European Commission funded project; ‘Where the rivers meet’ which is being undertaken with other partner organisations in Spain, Italy, Romania and Austria. The delegation also presented a report on the international workshop on racism to the senior officials for presentation to the Minister of Justice. Other issues discussed included some concerns regarding the Irish naturalisation process, access to education and employment for immigrants, long term residence for immigrants completing third level degrees on students’ visas and also funding for immigrant led community activities. The officials gave the assurance that the concerns raised would be brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities for discussion. Regarding the issue of funding, they gave some useful pointers and recommended that the AGPI engage with some statutory bodies.

In concluding the meeting, Ms. O’ Gorman briefed the AGPI delegation on laws in Ireland that deals with racist crime, including the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2008, the Equal Status Act 2000 to 2008, the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989, the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994, the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 and the Criminal Damage Act 1991. She also briefed the delegation on statutory agencies that could assist immigrants who are faced with racist abuse including the Equality Authority, the Equality Tribunal, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission the Press Council and the Broadcasting Commission.

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Source: AGPI Secretariat