Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Joint Committee On Children, Equality, Disability, Integration And Youth

Experiences of Migrant Communities Engaging with the Healthcare System and State Bodies: Discussion

Dr. Fiona O'Reilly:

I thank the committee for inviting us to appear this afternoon. As Dr. Skuce said, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark time and has revealed many of the inequities in our society. Some of our migrant communities were shown to be extremely vulnerable, particularly the Roma community in our experience. We are thankful for the support we get from State bodies, such as the HSE social inclusion, and we worked really well around the country particularly during the pandemic with public health throughout the country. That has been very positive and solution-focused. We would like to see Ireland as a multicultural society. As stated earlier, migrants are not vulnerable, but they can be made vulnerable by barriers, including structural barriers. We believe we have much to gain from the migrants who come to the country, and it is a missed opportunity if we do not do that. We strongly believe that people should have the same rights as the indigenous population, and communication is the first step on that. I thank the committee.