Dáil Éireann - Volume 517 - 11 April, 2000
Written Answers. - Cultural Diversity Awareness.
Ms O'Sullivan Ms O'Sullivan
75. Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the specific measures being taken within his Department to create public awareness and promote cultural diversity in view of his speech on 8 March 2000 at the launch of the report African Refugee Needs Analysis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10528/00]
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. Ahern
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): As the Deputy will be aware, my Department does not have specific responsibility to create public awareness and promote cultural diversity. Policy in this area is the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. However, my Department was represented on the Interdepartmental Committee on the Integration of Refugees established by Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy O'Donoghue which reported earlier this year. The Government has accepted the recommendations made by that committee and arising from that, the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Inter-Culturalism is currently carrying out an evaluation exercise on how best to promote respect for cultural diversity.
In the meantime, a comprehensive customer service training programme is currently being delivered to all staff in my Department who deal  with the public. One of the key modules focuses on the importance for our staff dealing with the public to adopt a non-discriminatory approach in dealing with all customers, particularly those from minority groups.
In addition, last December, I launched the community development programme's anti-racism code of practice which is the first of its kind in Ireland. It provides a framework to tackle racism at all levels and challenges other sectors of society to develop policies and codes to eliminate racism.
The Community Development Association which assisted the African Refugee Network in compiling the report to which the Deputy refers, was funded under my Department's community development programme. It received £93,625 in 1999 and £34,650 in November 1998 towards the cost of office premises. This enabled it to provide office space for the African Refugee Network group.
The promotion of a tolerant inclusive society is not just a matter for Government. We all have a role to play as individuals and in the various organisations in which we take part.
Dáil Éireann 517 Written Answers. Cultural Diversity Awareness.