Webinar to look at ways for migrants in Galway to overcome barriers into politics

Galway Daily news EU elections hustings

The Immigrant Council of Ireland is calling on potential political candidates from a migrant background in Galway to attend a webinar series exploring diversity in politics.

The first session in the series will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, 9 March at 6pm.

The Immigrant Council, in partnership with Dublin City University, is running the series throughout March and April.

It will feature contributions from former election candidates and currently sitting councillors of migrant backgrounds, as well as experts in the political system and campaigning.

Entitled ‘Promoting Democratic Participation: An Active Citizenship for Migrants’, the webinars aim to introduce potential candidates to the Irish political system.

It will cover topics such as party systems in Ireland, the mobilisation of migrant voters, migrant women in politics, party affiliation, electoral campaign organisation, outreach strategies, and social media campaigning.

According to research carried out by the Immigrant Council on the experiences of migrant election candidates in 2019, migrants experience additional campaigning barriers that other candidates do not have to face.

In order to combat these barriers, the Immigrant Council has delivered a number of projects including voters’ education workshops and internship schemes for migrants.

The webinars will be jointly coordinated by Teresa Buczkowska, Immigrant Council of Ireland and Dr Valesca Lima, Dublin City University.

Commenting on the upcoming webinar series, Teresa Buczkowska said that migrant political participation has significantly increased in recent years.

“Currently we have 12 local councillors from a migrant background, and we are working with a number of potential election candidates,” she said.

“The local councillors are the best trainers and role models that can provide knowledge and encouragement to migrants who are considering running for local elections in Galway in 2024.

“There are many capable migrant community leaders in Galway and across Ireland who would make excellent local councillors and we hope we can reach them with our webinars.”

Also commenting on the upcoming series, Dr Valesca Lima, Assistant Professor in Politics at Dublin City University, said: “Active citizenship is an important part of migrant integration and a healthy democracy.

“Having diverse voices at the decision-making table supports equality and ensures the success of all of our communities and a cohesive society.

“We are hoping that the webinar series will help migrant candidates to run successful election campaigns in 2024 and beyond.”

All webinars are free to attend and people interested in attending can register here.