The Central and Eastern European Outreach and Information Centre worked to provide advice on employment rights and statutory entitlements for migrants and aimed to build good community relations through community development work and conflict mediation.
Its development came about as result of close co-operation between Kazik Anhalt of SIPTU and Cormac O’Donnell of Dublin City Council’s Office for Integration. They aimed to provide a targeted, culturally competent & holistic approach to the needs of the Central & Eastern European community.
At the time they won the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award Cormac was establishing the Office for Integration in Dublin City Council and studying for a masters in Migration, Race & Ethnicity at UCD. As a Strategic Policy Manager, he had built up strong relationships with the migrant community in Dublin.
Kazik, who is from Poland, understood the socio-economic needs of his fellow Poles both through his work for SIPTU and through his voluntary work with the Polish Information & Cultural Centre.
One of their main concerns was to develop programmes to make sure that services were provided to vulnerable Eastern European migrants who were homeless or suffering with addiction problems. They developed the business plan for the project and began to have meetings with groups to set up a management committee and look for premises.
Cormac has been manager of the Home Grants Unit for the last four and a half years, providing housing adaptations to physically and intellectually disabled people in the city looking after the needs of both adults and children. Kazik returned to Poland about two years ago.
Both believe that Dublin City Council can show leadership in reaching out to the migrant communities in the city. Together they hope that the needs of all Central and Eastern Europeans will be supported and have positive social inclusion outcomes for our society.
The purpose of the network is to create an organisation that can play a proactive role towards building mutual understanding between citizens of Central and Eastern Europe and the indigenous people of Ireland.
Kazik Anhalt & Cormac O'Donnell