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“One in Eight People in Ireland Are Foreign Immigrants”

Dublin: The upcoming local elections on June 7 in Ireland are set to highlight the significant participation of immigrant candidates and their representation of women. According to the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI), there has been a notable increase in the number of immigrant candidates.

Shift in Candidate Representation

Historically, many immigrant candidates ran as independents, but this year sees a shift, with most seeking election as representatives of political parties. The ICI reports that only one-third of the immigrant candidates are running as independents this year, compared to more than half in 2019.

Statistics and Representation

The ICI’s figures show that one in eight people living in Ireland are immigrants, yet only one in 20 of those are running as candidates. This indicates that Ireland’s democracy still lacks full representation of its diverse population.

Record Number of Immigrant Candidates

More than 100 candidates from migrant backgrounds are competing in the local elections, with 55% of them being women. This marks a significant increase from 2019, when there were 56 migrant candidates and 45% were women.

First-Time Candidates and Broader Representation

This election is particularly notable for the inclusion of candidates from South America and Central America, running for the first time. Additionally, 81% of the immigrant candidates are first-time participants. Candidates with immigrant backgrounds are present in 27 out of 31 local authorities, up from 24 in 2019.

Calls for Increased Participation

ICI Migrant Political Participation Coordinator Teresa Buczkowska emphasised the need for even more immigrants to step up and participate in the democratic process. Despite the record number of candidates this year, she stressed the importance of bridging the gap in democratic representation.

ICI CEO Brian Killoran highlighted the vital role of immigrants in Ireland’s democracy, economy, and cultural life. He stated that their voices and experiences are essential at both local and national decision-making levels to ensure equality and fairness.

The increased involvement of immigrant and female candidates in the local elections marks a positive step towards a more inclusive and representative democracy in Ireland.

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