Limerick has applied to the Council of Europe for Intercultural Cities status.
Limerick has applied to the Council of Europe for Intercultural Cities status. Approval to the pursuit of the attainment of Intercultural City Status was received from the then Limerick City and County Councils at their respective meetings in March 2013.
The Intercultural Cities (ICC) programme began in 2008 as a joint pilot initiative of the Council of Europe (CoE), and the European Commission. Any reference to Limerick as an Intercultural City can be interpreted as meaning Limerick City and County. The Intercultural City is defined as;
The Intercultural City has a diverse population including people with different nationalities, origins, languages or religions/beliefs. Most citizens regard diversity as a resource, not as a problem, and accept that all cultures change as they encounter each other in the public space. The city officials publicly advocate respect for diversity and a pluralistic city identity. The city actively combats prejudice and discrimination and ensures equal opportunities for all by adapting its governance structures, institutions and services to the needs of a diverse population without compromising the principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. In partnership with business, civil society and public service professionals, the intercultural city develops a range of policies and actions to encourage greater mixing and interaction between diverse groups. The high level of trust and social cohesion help to prevent conflicts and violence, increase policy effectiveness and make the city attractive for people and investors alike.
Number of Non-Nationals in Limerick
The 2011 Census of Population recorded the number of non-nationals within the state at 544,357, (12% of the usually resident population). In the Census, the total population shown for Limerick City and County was 189,943 of which 18,427, (9.7%) described themselves as non-Irish nationals. In Limerick County there were 11,580 non-Irish national residing while in Limerick City there were 6,847 non-Irish nationals at the date of the census.
Council of Europe Guidelines
A number of guideline documents have been issued by the CoE which provide specific suggestions on the steps to be taken as part of the process of becoming an Intercultural City. Council of Europe officials visited Limerick in April, 2014 and it is expected that the formal process of becoming an Intercultural City will be finalised in November 2014 with the signing of a Charter between Limerick and the Council of Europe.
Development of an Intercultural Strategy
As Limerick proceeds within the Intercultural Cities programme it will be required to prepare an Intercultural City Strategy. The following are the 10 thematic areas recommended in the ICC model for an Intercultural Cities Strategy;
- Positive Public Attitudes: Making a public statement pointing out that the city/county explicitly understands and is embracing a positive attitude to diversity and embracing an intercultural approach.
- Review Main City Functions: Examine policies, practices and procedures across the areas of; education, public realm, housing and neighbourhoods, public services and civic administration.
- Conflict: Acknowledge the inevitability of conflict in mixed communities and develop the city's skills in mediation and resolution.
- Language: Invest heavily in language training to ensure that all migrants are able to converse in English, but also enable public servants to learn/get an impression of minority languages
- Local Media: Establish a joint strategy with local media agencies to gather and present news in a responsible and intercultural way.
- International Policy: Establish a policy for the city which proclaims that the city is both open to ideas and influences from the outside world and also seeks to outwardly project its own identity.
- Intercultural Intelligence: Begin process of monitoring examples of good practice locally and in other places, gathering and processing local information and data
- Intercultural Awareness Training: Initiate a programme of intercultural awareness training for politicians and key policy and public interface staff in public sector agencies.
- Welcoming Newcomers: Initiate welcoming actions for newcomers to the City
- Cross-Cultural Decision Making: Establish processes for encouraging cross-cultural decision making in both civil society organisations and public institutions, support the emergence of new civic and political leaders from diverse backgrounds.
Intercultural Cities - The Positives
- Enhanced reputation for Limerick
- Provision of greater coordination and quality of service provision to migrants.
- Support from an existing Limerick City and County Integration Working Group, (IWG), which was established as a sub-committee of Limerick City and County Development Boards with the aim of bringing together statutory, community and voluntary bodies to address integration needs of migrant and host communities.
- Support will be available from the CoE in terms of advice and expert visits if required.
For more information about Intercultural Cities click here.
Limerick City Community Forum continued to support participation of member group representatives on local government and other local development structures during 2013. Considerable work on consolidating membership of the Forum was also undertaken during the year.
- West Limerick Resources Directorship
- Community Advisory Group Membership
- Ballyhoura Development Directorship
- Rural Community Care Network Grant
- City of Learning Group Co-ordination
- Junior Achievement Support
- Children Services Committee Membership
- Interagency Traveller Group Co-ordination
- Smoke Alarm Scheme
- School Meals Grant
- Social Inclusion Measure Group Co-ordination
- Community and Voluntary Forum Support
Integration Working Group Support
Anti-poverty Social Inclusion Strategy 2010-2014
The Limerick Integration Working Group (IWG) was established in 2007 with the aim of bringing together statutory, community and voluntary bodies to address integration needs of migrant and host communities in Limerick.
Bodies represented in the IWG include Limerick Sports Partnership, African Community representative, An Garda Siochana, Ballyhoura Development, Clare/Limerick, Education and Training Board, Department of Social Protection, Doras Luimni, Health Service Executive, Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland, Limerick Filipino Community, Limerick Latvian Activities Centre, PAUL Partnership/Limerick volunteer Centre, University of Limerick, West Limerick Resources, Mid-West Interfaith Network, Limerick Youth Service, Limerick City and County Council.
The IWG has published two Strategy documents. The first, The Limerick City & County Integration Plan 2010 - 2012 was developed by the IWG in 2010. The purpose of this plan was to increase awareness of the value of diversity in Limerick's changing environment, to progress the development of integration measures and enhance social cohesion. Three progress reports have been published charting achievements on an annual basis since the launch of the original plan.
A new Integration Plan Towards Intercultural Limerick 2013 – 2016 was launched in December 2013. The aim of this plan is to work towards creating a vibrant, inclusive and truly intercultural society in Limerick in which all residents are valued, regardless of their colour, creed or culture.
Pride of Place Support
Pride of Place is an all-island competition which is directed towards recognising improvements by local communities to create civic pride in their area. The competition focus is on people coming together to shape, change and enjoy all that is good about their area.
The competition is hosted by Co-Operation Ireland under its Local Authority Programme in conjunction with the all-island Local Authority Steering Forum, comprising officials from authorities from all over Ireland.
Annually, approximately one hundred entrants representing communities from cities, towns and villages throughout the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are nominated by their local authorities to take part in the competition.
In Pride of Place, community groups have the unique opportunity to showcase specific pride initiatives which will have long lasting and positive impacts on their society. Activities may include the development of community centres, the tackling of social exclusion issues, the establishment of residents associations or the provision of childcare facilities.
The following four groups from Limerick participated in this competition in 2013;
- Group Pride of Place Competition Category
- Moyross Residents Forum Population Category Over 1,000
- Castleview Estate, Newcastle West Housing Estates
- Limerick Youth Service Enterprise and Youth
- Foynes District Community Council Population 500 – 1,000
Limerick has had considerable success to date in this competition with Limerick County winning the overall local authority prize in 2010. Within the city and county there have been a number of category prize winners. 2013 witnessed the continuation of this success with Castleview Estate winning first place in its category. Moyross Residents Forum and Limerick Youth Service were runners up in their respective categories.
- SPC Home & Social Development
- Childcare Committee Membership
- Provision of Grants and Subsidies for Community
- VEC Youth Affairs County Sub-committee