Limerick will this week become an official member of the Intercultural Cities Network, an international grouping of cities which works to develop new ideas and practices concerning migrant integration.
A delegation from the Council of Europe arrived in Limerick today as part of a four-day expert verification visit which will see the City and County join Dublin and dozens of cities around the world as Network members.
Limerick’s bid for inclusion in the Intercultural Cities Network is being led by the Limerick City and County Integration Working Group, in conjunction with Limerick City and County Council, and is expected to be formalised later this week.
During their visit to Limerick, Council of Europe members will visit local immigrant support organisations as well as receive a briefing on Doras Luimni’s ‘Anti-Rumours Campaign’ which is aimed at fighting racism and tackling myths about immigrants.
Migrants presently make up 9.7% of the overall population of Limerick City and County.
Mayor of Limerick Cllr. Kathleen Leddin commented: “As a member of the Network, Limerick will be able to look at programmes and policies in dealing with racism on a global basis and benchmark its progress with other cities in the network.”
“Studying the challenges faced by other parts of the world and how they have adapted to changing migration trends down through history is key to how other societies cope with an increasingly diverse population. Therein lies one of the core strengths of the Intercultural Cities Network and I look forward to Limerick’s involvement in the initiative,” the Mayor added.
Cllr. John Sheahan, Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council noted that the Council of Europe’s consideration of Limerick’s bid to join the Network had been boosted by the workings of the Limerick City and County Integration Working Group, which is tasked with coordinating the aims, resources and activities of a wide range of statutory and community groups across Limerick.
He continued: “Recognising existing international policy and drawing on the experiences of all sections of the local community and advocate groups, the Working Group has taken great strides towards promoting the importance of embracing diversity. Being part of the Intercultural Cities Network will enable Limerick to build on these achievements and work with other Network members around the world to deliver further positive change for everyone concerned.”