Dáil Éireann - Volume 625 - 10 October, 2006
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.
Mr. Stanton Mr. Stanton
Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the action he intends to take, in relation to the statement in the report by the International Organisation for Migration for the National Economic and Social Council of Ireland (details supplied) that highlights the lack of appropriate information and orientation for new arrivals here as to their rights and entitlements, on the website of his Department; if he will ensure that this matter is examined and rectified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32139/06]
Mr. Brennan Mr. Brennan
Mr. Brennan: My Department is committed to ensuring that relevant information and services are available to all the Department’s customers, including immigrants, via the Departments web site (www.welfare.ie). It contains information in relation to all the schemes and services provided by the Department as well as links to other relevant agencies and organisations. All leaflets, booklets, scheme application forms and reports published by my Department are available on the website.
The Guide to Social Welfare Services is available on the website in a number of languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, Polish, Russian, and Spanish as well as in English and Irish. In addition, my Department has also issued detailed guidance, under Freedom of Information legislation (FOI), regarding the operation of the Habitual Residency Condition and this is available on the website.
My Department plans to redevelop the website commencing early 2007 and the provision of specific information on social welfare services for immigrants, in a number of languages, will form part of this redevelopment.
My Department has provided funding to the Immigrant Council of Ireland to produce fact-sheets with information on rights and entitlements of immigrants to Ireland. These fact sheets are available in six different languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Romanian, Russian and English). There is also a link from the Department website to the Immigrant Council website where these fact sheets are available.
Comhairle, a statutory agency under the remit of my Department, is responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice and advocacy on social services and the Comhairle website provides information on the social and civil rights of everyone in Ireland, including immigrants.
Comhairle has also assisted the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) in the production of leaflets in six different languages (Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, Romanian, Brazilian and English) aimed at meeting the information needs of migrants working and living in Ireland.
In addition, my Department is also participating in the EUlisses project which will provide a multilingual website, pooling social security information for migrants from national and European sources. This will provide a single internet access point for Europeans who are seeking social security information. Work is ongoing on this website at present and its first phase, dealing with pensions, is expected to be on-line before the end of 2006.
My Department will continue to develop, enhance and expand the range of information services it provides to ensure that immigrants are made aware of their rights, entitlements, and obligations in relation to social welfare services.
Dáil Éireann 625 Written Answers. Social Welfare Benefits.