46. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to renew funding to a cultural centre (details supplied); his views on the evidence that shows that persons that have deeper levels of integration within communities are significantly less likely to experience crime and anti-social behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15256/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI), an Office of my Department, allocates public funding for migrant integration projects on the basis of competitive selection processes carried out in a fair, open and transparent way.  This gives a wide range of community and voluntary organisations the opportunity to bid for government funding for projects to support the integration of migrants in our communities.

South Dublin County Partnership received funding from OPMI via South Dublin County Council between 2008 and 2016 under a National Integration Funding Programme that concluded in 2016. In 2017, a new 3 year National Integration Funding Programme was initiated. Grant allocation under this programme was by way of open competitive calls for proposals. All organisations wishing to be considered for funding – including those who had received funding under the previous programme - were required to make new applications.  All eligible applications received were assessed by OPMI staff against the published selection criteria. The funding recommendations were reviewed by an assessment committee that included external representatives. In all, 15 projects were selected to receive funding from a total of 73 eligible applications.

An application was received from South Dublin County Partnership which included a request for funding to contribute to the cost of running the centre referred to by the Deputy.  Regrettably, this application was unsuccessful in what was a highly competitive process.

My officials advise that at a subsequent meeting held with the Office for Promotion of Migrant Integration in November last year, representatives from South Dublin County Partnership outlined their concerns for the future of the centre in Clondalkin.  Officials of my Department proposed a number of alternative options to secure funding.  They invited the representatives of South Dublin County Partnership to consider these options further and to submit proposals.  However, no such proposals have been forthcoming to date.  These options remain open to the organisation.

The National Funding to Promote the Integration of Immigrants is one of a number of funding programmes, administered by or on behalf of my Department to support migrant integration. We also provide funding from the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund and the Communities Integration Fund. South County Dublin Partnership is in receipt of integration project funding under both these funds. In 2017 the Partnership was awarded a grant of €150,000 over three years under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

The Migrant Integration Strategy, which was published in February 2017, contains a number of very specific actions under the theme of promoting intercultural awareness and combating racism and xenophobia.  These actions, which are being implemented, include ensuring appropriate migrant representation on local joint-policing committees, implementing victim-focused policing of racist crime, rapid removal of racist graffiti and the strengthening of legislation dealing with hate crime.

The Migrant Integration Strategy also makes provision for the continuation of funding through OPMI for integration related projects at community level up to and including 2020.  Future “Calls for Proposals” under all integration funding programmes will be advertised on my Department’s website, the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration and the EU Funds Unit of the Department.  South Dublin County Partnership is entitled to apply as appropriate.