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Dublin City Interfaith Forum

National Network: 
Ireland
Address: 
Clonliffe College, Clonliffe
Dublin 3
Ireland
Telephone: 
00353-1-2690951
Mobile Phone: 
353 83 3515443
Organisation Type: 
Non-Governmental Organization
Year of Establishment: 
2007
Fields of Activity: 
General Information: 

January 2007 marked the start of a new three-year integration project at parish level in the Republic of Ireland. This ecumenical project is managed by Inter Church Committee on Social Issues (ICCSI), funded by the Dept of Justice (Reception and Integration Agency) and based at the Irish School of Ecumenics in Dublin (details below).The Parish Based Integration Project promotes and supports the practical integration of immigrants based around parishes and local congregations. Many of the new immigrants have strong church links in their countries of origin and tend to seek out parishes and local church congregations as natural sources of practical support. The overall objective of the project is to boost integration activities, at local parish level and on an ecumenical basis if possible. It seeks to address the issues which may be inhibiting Irish people from fully reaching out to assist the new immigrants.
The project created a central resource geared to the specific type of activities which are best undertaken at local parish/congregation level. This resource contains a wide range of support material relevant to the aims of the project. It promote models of best practice on integration issues. It also include changes in legislation, policies and practice. All these resources can be accessed on the new website at www.iccsi.ie. It is linked to those statutory and non-statutory agencies most involved in immigration, integration and working with immigrants. The project, in identifying models of good practice, is also making them known and available; visits local parish groups (as far as possible ecumenical groups), providing advice, assistance, facilitation, training and other practical support required for integration activities and promotion of inter-culturalism.

Mission and Objectives: 

The principal objectives of this project are:-
• Develop a deep knowledge of best practice from the existing locations which have been leading the way, and elsewhere, and develop suitable resource material.
• Use this to produce a wide range of support material relevant to the specific objectives of the project, both hosted on a website plus selected material being printing.
• Develop, or adapt, training material for local parish-based groups. Such material would cover a range of integration issues, inter-cultural understanding, anti-racism material, assistance in developing mutual understanding and trust, practical ways of assisting integration at a local level etc
• In undertaking all of these activities, the primary focus is on the local community, both indigenous and new. Integration is a two way process, and the focus is equally on both sides of that equation. Indeed if anything the emphasis will be more in relation to how the indigenous element of a community can address their fears, uncertainties, prejudices etc, and how they can mobilise local resources to stimulate an inclusive culture within their community.

Main Projects / Activities: 

Migrant Voters Campaign
The project through its role on the steering committee for the migrant voters campaign and in collaboration with the Vincentian Partnership for Justice was on board to devise and provide voter education to members of ethnic minority communities. After completing of a day training course, the trainers delivered a programme of voters education sessions across the city in local community centres and places of worship used by migrants. Other materials covering a wide range of integration issues, inter-cultural understanding, anti-racism issues and promotion of models of good practice was also developed and hosted on the project’s website.
Project Facilitated by the Parish Based Integration Programme
Failte Balbriggan is a primary example of successful facilitation by the Parish Integration Project and faith based groups and local statutory agencies. The project has been set up to assist the integration of new communities into Irish society in North County Dublin. In doing so, it helps provide a range of social services primarily to refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable immigrants in the North County Dublin area. It is a collaborative project between CMS Ireland, the Vincentian Refugee Centre (VRC) and the HSE.
Failte Balbriggan Project services
True integration must be a two-way process and therefore the project has been established with multi-sector involvement, including local churches, schools and community groups. The service based in Balbriggan comprises of a drop in centre with evening opening hours to be a base for the provision of the following services:
• Dedicated point of contact and introduction point to a range of local statutory and voluntary organisations including: Co-operation Fingal, Community Welfare Officers, Public Health Nurses, Schools, FAS, GAA Clubs, Soccer Clubs, Accommodation Advice.
• Educational advice and referral
• Employment seeking assistance, advice and referrals
• Homework club including a local one to one mentoring programme to encourage integration
• Provision of space for groups to meet and interact
• Men and women’s support groups
Summary
The integration of immigrants has a strong local dimension. Whilst immigration applications are likely to be dealt with at the national level, migrants ultimately settle in local communities, and require support from local stakeholders to ease the process of integration. Failte Balbriggan is a ground breaking ecumenical initiative that provides a channel for a range of religious, statutory and non-governmental organizations to respond in a holistic manner to the new needs of modern Ireland.