March 28, 2006

A conference on how public authorities provide services to minority groups in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland

28 March 2006
Hilton Hotel, Belfast

The conference is aimed at a diverse audience including people working in public and social services, government officials, NGOs as well as minority ethnic groups and the communities that represent them.

The conference will launch the emerging findings from research examining how public authorities provide services for minority ethnic groups within the prescribed legal framework in three jurisdictions: Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

The research was commissioned by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland, from the Centre for Cross Border Studies and was carried out by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) in Dublin, with:

  • Institute for Conflict Research in Belfast
  • Piaras MacEinri in Cork
  • Organisation and Social Development Consultants Limited in Edinburgh.

The primary focus of the study has been to identify how public authorities in the three jurisdictions can learn from the experience from their nearest neighbours. A number of service areas were selected for the research as indicators of how public authorities provide services to minority ethnic groups:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Policing
  • Employment

In Northern Ireland, housing was also included.

An ‘emerging findings’ interim report [985 kb] is available, presenting the findings of the research so far. Copies of the report are available from the NCCRI (visit the website:, email:, or telephone: 00 353 1 858 8000).

The conference will present and facilitate discussion on the research. Key discussion points from the conference will be included in the final report to be published in the summer of 2006.


9.30am Registration & Tea/Coffee
10.15am Ministerial Address
10.25am Welcome by Chair: Andy Pollak, Centre for Cross Border Studies
10.30am European Perspective: Anastasia Crickley, Chair of the European Monitoring Commission on Racism and Xenophobia and OSCE Special Rapporteur on Racism
10.45am Minority Ethnic Perspective: Benedicta Attoh, Akidwa & Louth African Women’s Group
11.00am Research Emerging Findings
11.30am Coffee Break
12.00pm Roundtable Discussions Themes: Mainstreaming, Targeting, Benchmarking and Engagement
1.00pm Lunch
2.00pm Feedback from Roundtable Discussions Including questions for the panel
2.30pm Panel Discussion:
Chair: Bridgid Nzekwu, Broadcaster and journalist;
Rob Berkeley, Runnymede Trust
Seamus Camplisson, Department of Health
Eileen Chan-Hu, Ballymena Community Forum
Martin Collins, Pavee Point Travellers Centre
Kay Hampton, Commission for Racial Equality
Colin Harvey, NI Human Rights Commission
Lesley Irving, Scottish Executive
Bernadette McAliskey, STEP
Tony Steed, Northern Ireland Housing Executive
3.30pm Reflections: Bob Collins, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
3.40pm Summary and Close: Philip Watt, NCCRI

See the conference flyer [109 kb] more information on the Ethnic and Immigrant Groups Project.

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