Also in this issue
Blog: Challenging negative perceptions of immigration
by Andy Pike
The recent publication of Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission research into public attitudes towards immigration and immigrants from different ethnic backgrounds has highlighted the extent to which the Government has ignored the need to build and foster an inclusive society. 
The research shows how attitudes towards immigrants changed once the recession commenced. According to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI), which carried out the research, public perceptions of immigration and immigrants were largely positive from 2002 to 2006.
This changed from 2008 onwards with perceptions being very negative in 2010 and then improving slowly as the economy recovered. This finding demonstrates a correlation between attitudes towards immigration and the state of the economy.
As the Irish economy continues to grow and with employment levels rising, attitudes to immigration appear to be more positive. But we should be deeply concerned that the research highlights differing attitudes towards immigration from specific racial and ethnic groups.
Almost 60% of Irish-born people reported they would allow many or some immigrants from members of the same ethnic group as most Irish people to come to Ireland. But the equivalent figures for Muslim and Roma migrants were 41% per cent and 25% respectively.
“The international literature suggests there is a greater perception of cultural threat around Muslim immigration than to immigrants of the same ethnic group. Resistance to Roma migration reflects a widespread prejudice against this group across Europe. Support for Muslim and Roma immigration is lower in Ireland than the average for the ten Western European countries presented,” it says.
In terms of beliefs about race and ethnicity, just under half of adults born in Ireland believe some cultures to be superior to others, while 45% say that some races and ethnic groups are born harder working. A much lower proportion, 17%, believe that some races or ethnic groups were born less intelligent.
Read Andy's full blog here
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Your Fórsa bulletin is produced by the Fórsa Communications Unit, with input from across the union. We welcome your comments and suggestions for stories to cover.
Pay equity demanded for all grades
by Bernard Harbor

Public service union leaders will meet senior officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DEPR) on 27th April to open discussions on remaining pay equity issues for ‘new entrants’.

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SNAs to establish professional institute
Survey reveals dearth of training provision
by Bernard Harbor

Fórsa has announced its intention today to establish a professional institute for special needs assistants (SNAs). The institute would set professional standards, support training, and underpin the validation of qualifications in a push to improve provision to children with special needs by further professionalising the SNA role.

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The call that never came
Falling foul of the education department’s habit of publishing school SNA allocations too late.
by Bernard Harbor and Hazel Gavigan
“It’s a terrible feeling. In June you’re told ‘see you in September. I’ll give you a ring when your job comes through.’ But the call doesn’t come, and you’ve no job.”
Special needs assistant Patricia Fanning from Fórsa’s SNA North Dublin and North Leinster branch is just one of hundreds of SNAs who’ve fallen foul of the education department’s habit of publishing school SNA allocations too late.
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Temporary arrangements for staff who reach 65
New Dept of Education circular for school staff
by Sean Carbini

A new Department of Education and Skills circular has been introduced to temporarily address the anomaly caused by the gap between mandatory retirement age at 65 and payment of the state pension at 66.

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Long term sick improvements won
by Bernard Harbor

The critical illness protocol (CIP), which governs public service arrangements for those on long-term sick leave, has been improved to allow more managerial discretion about what constitutes a ‘critical illness’ in cases where the precise medical criteria are not met. 

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Gearing up for conference charity cycle
by Diarmaid Mac a Bhaird

Dust down that Lycra and dig out the bicycle clips. Because now’s the time to sign up for the Fórsa conference cycle and help raise much-needed funds for charity.

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Strong Fórsa presence at housing rally
by Niall Shanahan

Last Saturday’s housing rally saw a very strong Fórsa presence as community organisations, homeless services organisations and trade unions took part in the the National Homeless and Housing Coalition’s rally in Dublin.

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Talking to the next generation of workers
by Dave Sexton, organiser

Fórsa organiser Dave Sexton talks to Youthreach students in Ballinrobe, County Mayo.

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Fórsa audio bulletin episode 5
by Hazel Gavigan (audio editor)

We take a look at last week's education division conference as well as the main stories in the current edition of the news bulletin. Presented by Hazel Gavigan and Niall Shanahan.

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