The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN), the representative body of the 46 Local Development Companies (LDCs) who provide the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP) across the Country, have today welcomed the recommendations of a Pobal study on the role of the Programme in supporting new communities including Migrants experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, Asylum seekers and Refugees.

14% of SICAP beneficiaries come from New Communities with 5,430 disadvantaged Migrants, 1,168 Asylum seekers and 851 Refugees nationwide engaging in the Programme. Today’s publication, launched by Minister for Community Development Joe O’Brien TD sets out a number of important findings and recommendations.

ILDN welcomes the report’s recognition of the multiple barriers to social inclusion experienced by new communities and the finding that SICAP and Local Development Companies contribute strongly to five areas of integration – employment, education, access to services, social connection and political participation.

Commenting on the publication, ILDN CEO Joe Saunders said; “This is a timely piece of work particularly in the context of the recent Government White Paper on the Ending of Direct Provision. Currently, the Social Inclusion budgets stand at 50% of what it was in 2008 – (€43m currently, €84.7m in 2008). The Programme needs to be resourced in order to meet the ambitions of this Pobal document and the Government White Paper. The explicit recognition of the requirement for additional financial investment to strengthen and support the work of SICAP with New Communities is welcome. It is also encouraging that the document acknowledges the good practice approaches of our members in the delivery of SICAP and the alignment of this delivery with national and international integration frameworks.

“Our member LDCs Carlow County Development Partnership, Dublin City Community Co-operative, South West Mayo Development Company, SECAD Partnership, South Kerry Development Partnership, Wexford Local Development provided valuable insight to the study. ILDN and its members look forward to working with Minister O’Brien, his Department and Pobal in pursuing the implementation of the measures identified.”

In addition to SICAP, Local Development Companies are assisting with the employment and social inclusion needs of New Communities across the country, meeting local needs through WIN (Welcoming and Including New Communities), Refugee Resettlement Programmes, Intercultural Programmes in association with the Department of Justice, Local Authorities, Túsla, HSE, the St Stephen’s Green Trust and others.