Joe Potter, CEO Westmeath Community Development, Una Conlan CEO Irish Refugee Council, Cllr Peter Burke Cathaoirleach Westmeath County Council and Rashid Butt, Chairperson Westmeath Immigrants Network
Asylum seekers living in Co Westmeath are housed in overcrowded accommodation for years on end without the right to work, according to Sue Conlon CEO of the Irish Refugee Council. “They survive on a tiny allowance” she said while speaking at the launch of the Westmeath Integration and Diversity Strategy 2013-2017 at Bloomfield House Hotel last week. She praised the initiative of Westmeath Community Development in taking action to produce and implement a strategy aimed at strengthening inter-cultural interaction, integration and training and employment opportunities. While critical of the Governments approach to asylum seekers, she said that the strategy is “a very good document”.
The Strategy was launched by the Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Councillor Peter Burke. It was drawn up as part of the European Refugee Fund project by Westmeath Community Development with the input of Integration Centre, Westmeath County Council and other agencies and organisations including voluntary groups and has been endorsed by the Westmeath County Development Board. The strategy document features actions centred on the five themes of: Access to Jobs and business opportunities, Access and managing diversity in Education and Training, Active Community Participation, Access to public services, Racism and Discrimination.