CITY Hall is aiming to make Cork a ‘sanctuary city’ for refugees and asylum seekers.
The council has launched the Cork City of Sanctuary Plan of Action which aims to help integrate people seeking refuge in Cork by working with key stakeholders and community groups.
The plan was launched by Lord Mayor Mick Finn and Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton.
The launch event included stories from new Corkonians who have come to live in the city, along with live performances by Citadel, a band made up of residents of Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre, and Aatma, a dance group of UCC Alumni.
Attendees also had the opportunity to engage with the various subgroups of the Cork City of Sanctuary Movement and sign up to get involved in projects of interest.
Mr Stanton welcomed the initiative, saying that it a welcome addition to the Government’s plans for greater integration.
“I am delighted to be able to support the Cork City of Sanctuary movement, which demonstrates Cork’s commitment to ensuring that all people are welcome here.
“This action plan represents a positive step towards ensuring that community action feeds into national action and vice versa,” he said.
“The broad range of areas of action in this plan should provide the opportunity and encouragement for all organisations and community groups to be able to make a positive contribution.
“In line with the national Migrant Integration Strategy, we are determined that communities should be empowered in making integration a success.”
Mr Finn said that the plan recognised how diverse Cork has become.
“Cork is leading the way in the City of Sanctuary movement in Ireland and this new strategy sets out the steps of the journey for this.
“We are a diverse, inclusive city... we are Cork, and it will take co-operation from all facets of society — civic, political, health, educational, cultural, sporting and business — to make the city work for all our communities.”
Cork City Council’s Maria Minguella, who has co-ordinated the plan to date, said: “We have witnessed incredible work, commitment and collaboration from all who have participated in building this movement.
“Everyone involved is dedicated to making our city more welcoming and inclusive of diversity.”