Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Question 55: To ask the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the measures taken in Budget 2011 to tackle discrimination and safeguard equality; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47123/10]
Mary White (Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality and Human Rights, and Integration, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Minister of State, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)
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Funding of the order of €16.249m will be made available to support measures relating to equality and diversity during 2011. Among the key priorities for my Department will be the continuation of the vital work done by equality and human rights agencies, and the support of important integration and diversity management initiatives throughout the country. While some reductions are necessary, I expect that much of the required savings can be achieved through efficiencies in administration and overhead costs.
My Department's equality and rights agencies have been given adequate funding to continue their core work next year. The Equality Tribunal has been given a 9% increase. The allocations for the Equality Authority and Irish Human Rights Commission will allow them to continue promoting and researching issues of equality and human rights.
Supports for women have been protected, with full funding for the Equality for Women measure being maintained. This funding stream helps women throughout the country to access new opportunities for employment, training and enterprise, which is vital at this difficult economic time. The national women's organisations will receive combined funding of over €500,000 next year.
Funding of initiatives to support the Traveller Community has been reduced by 4% on the 2010 allocation. However, it is expected that this reduction can be met from administrative savings. My Department will continue to support interagency working through the City and County Development Boards and the work of the National Traveller Monitoring and Advisory Committee. I also envisage continued funds for mediation and related initiatives, especially in the light of serious situations which have arisen around the country in recent years. Funding will also be provided for positive communications measures such as Traveller Pride Week, in line with a commitment in Towards 2016 from all of the social partners to give 'concentrated attention ' to achieving progress on Traveller issues, including '...measures to improve communication between Travellers and the general population'.
A combined allocation of €5.8m for the Office of the Minister for Integration and the European Refugee Fund will facilitate the continuation of measures to promote the integration of legally resident immigrants (including the Ministerial Council on Migrant Integration and grants to local authorities, sporting bodies, etc), as well as the funding of projects under the European Refugee Fund and the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals. In fact, the provision in these subheads is very close to the likely outturn in 2010.
A further priority will be the advancement of the implementation of the National Disability Strategy, with a provision of €7.499m made for this sector in 2011.