Show Racism the Red Card presentation to Oireachtas Education & Science Committee

On Thursday 19th June, Show Racism the Red Card led a multi- agency delegation to present to the Oireachtas Education & Science Committee to make the case for government funding of the project. The following is a full transcript of the meeting. Campaign: Discussion with Show Racism the Red Card.Chairman: I welcome the delegation from Show Racism the Red Card. I call Mr. Garrett Mullan.Mr. Garrett Mullan: I thank the Chairman. Show Racism the Red Card is a unique project of education and sport uniting to “Show Racism the Red Card”. I am joined by a number of colleagues, including Mr. Dessie Farrell of the Gaelic Players Association. Ms Jennifer Hill works with Cavan-Monaghan Sports Partnership as a sports inclusion officer but she is attending in a personal capacity because she is the researcher and author of the report on the evaluation of Show Racism the Red Card resources. I trust the committee received a copy of the document and our education pack in the past week or two and I hope members have had an opportunity to read them. Mr. Des Tomlinson is the FAI’s intercultural co-ordinator. The FAI is part funding the campaign this year with a grant of €25,000 and we are here to make the case for continued funding and support from the Government, in particular, through a strategic relationship with the Department of Education and Science in rolling out our education pack and equipping teachers and those in education with the skills to cope with diversity and deal with the issue of racism.I refer to the background to the project. It is modelled on the UK project, principally harnessing the profile of high profile sports stars as role models to convey an education message. In 1996 the Newcastle United goalkeeper, Shaka Hislop, was racially abused as he filled his car with petrol. The players at the club have iconic status and when these people realised they had been racially abusing the club goalkeeper, they approached him and asked for autographs without stopping to think about the abuse they had been giving him moments before. Shaka Hislop made a donation to the Youth Against Racism in Europe campaign, which was engaged in educational work in schools in the north east of England at the time. He was then invited to visit schools in the region. He invited other players such as Les Ferdinand and Irish players based in the region such as Curtis Fleming who was playing with Middlesborough, and David Kelly and Niall Quinn who were playing with Sunderland at the time, to get involved. Since then the educational resources in the UK have been updated every two or three years to maintain relevance and to harness the profile of sports stars to convey an anti-racism education message. It was found to be very effective and the project has since expanded to 12 European countries with full-time offices in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland as well as the UK.The Irish project is unique because it utilises players from the main sporting codes, GAA, rugby and soccer but also athletics, basketball and boxing. We have held events around the country using local role models with whom young people can identify. For example, Katie Taylor attended our event in Bray while Joanne Cuddihy attended our event in UCD to launch our campaign with UCD football club. Following a number of activities, including a very successful art competition run in partnership with the ASTI in 2004, the project was formally launched with the support of the three players’ unions and the three teachers’ unions. An Irish website was set up as an interim education resource to launch the project. Furthermore, a poster was published encapsulating the ethos of the campaign and the UK education pack was supplied for distribution. The launch was attended by hundreds of young people and proved very successful. We then rolled out a pilot initiative with three Eircom league clubs – Galway United, Shamrock Rovers and Drogheda United – to promote integration and increase support among immigrant communities for Eircom league clubs. We also did some work in the area of practical grass roots integration.As our profile has increased, our banner has been identified by a range of organisations as a way of responding to the issue of racism in sport, society and education. One such example was the experience of the then Shelbourne player in the Setanta Cup 2006 rounds, Joseph Ndo, who faced racist abuse. Players from both sides came out with the message on that occasion. Therefore, the simple, public and high profile message can be communicated. With player support, we want to get the message into the classroom. To this end, we have produced 4,000 education packs. We launched the pack in February this year and the launch was attended by Kevin Kilbane from the Ireland team, Paul Casey from the Dublin team and a number of other high profile stars, as well as approximately 350 young people.We previoulsy made a presentation to the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. At the time we were working on a voluntary basis. We have since received funding through Pobal, from the fund for the integration of immigrants, and thought we would use it to produce the education pack, roll out a poster campaign and continue the integration work we had begun to develop with various sports bodies. Unfortunately, that fund has finished, although most of the organisations which applied for funding expected it would continue, particularly following the appointment of a Minister of State with responsibility for integration issues. However, since his appointment, the fund has finished, despite the fact that additional funding was allocated in the budget for this year for integration related matters. In order for education initiatives such as ours to be successful, resources must be invested to provide training across the education sector in order that teachers will feel fully equipped to deal with the issues involved. Perhaps Ms Leyden will elaborate on this need.Much research has been carried out on racism in Ireland in recent years. An ESRI report in 2006 found that one in three immigrants had experienced racism. This rises to one in two in black African communities. The problem is widespread. A report carried out by UCD recently on the issue of integration suggested that as few as 12% of Chinese immigrants felt integrated into Irish society. The challenge is significant. Much of the focus is on language issues, but there are issues with regard to racism and culture.We have done the job in terms of building support with teacher unions which are crucial in the area of education. We must consider also the people young people admire. Their heroes may be politicians, but for many they are sportspeople, especially those achieving at the top level. We have managed to build on that relationship successfully in the past two years. We have also made a significant contribution to supporting the integration programmes of the various sports governing bodies. While that may be a separate issue, perhaps Mr. Farrell might comment on some of the joint work we have done with the FAI.The evaluation of Show Racism the Red Card refers to the evaluation of the UK education park. I suggest the Irish education pack is better. The results of our research were significant. Ms Hill produced a report concentrating on three skills in the south west Dublin area where there is a different ethnix mix. The 13 to 15 year old age group was targeted because it is the one most open to suggestion in terms of peer group and attitude formation. Before the workshop was held, it was found that 25% of the young people concerned were either unsure or thought we should treat people differently because of their colour. After the workshop was held, 84% disagreed strongly and 16% disagreed completely with this view. Also, prior to the holding of the workshop, some 27% were unsure of whether being racist was good. Following the holding of the workshop, it was found that none thought it was good. There were similar results with regard to attitudes towards asylum seekers and refugees. There was a sharp shift from negative perceptions to positive, understanding views on the part of the young people surveyed.We want to be in a position to drive forward with the education pack to ensure it is used in schools. This involves facilitating workshops in youth services and schools and providing training. We also have a number of other related objectives for our project, but the ones I mention are the specific education objectives.I thank the committee for listening and allowing me to go slightly over time.Chairman: Information Zoom We did not want to cut short Mr. Mullan’s time, but want to allow members the opportunity to ask questions. I urge them to try to ask relevant questions. Most right-thinking members of society abhor racism. Therefore, playing devil’s advocate, I urge fewer political statements and more questions that will bring us to the nub of the issue – the continuation of funding for the work being done.Deputy Frank Feighan: Information Zoom I welcome the delegation. When I was a member of the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs some years ago, I found the work done very informative. During the years we have faced significant challenges as a result of the influx of people into the country. We have generally handled the matter well, due to the enlightened approach adopted by all sides. I am sure Show Racism the Red Card has adopted a worthwhile approach.The funding of €25,000 received from the FAI is welcome. Have similar amounts been received from the other major sports bodies, the GAA and the Irish Rugby Football Union? We are all in this together. I cannot understand why Government funding has not been continued. Racism is an everyday problem and we must ensure funding continues. The committee supports its continuation. Why has it been stopped? Will the delegation clarify whether it was a Government decision?Senator Brendan Ryan: Information Zoom I welcome the delegation from Show Racism the Red Card. I attended the launch of the project in Malahide some months ago and was very moved by the stories presented in the video. Some of the kids were from Balbriggan, an area I know well. A small number of schools were represented at the presentation. Has the delegation set targets for the number of children and schools it wishes to reach in a year? How successful has it been to date? What happens once the project is presented in the classroom? I ask the ASTI delegation to comment. Is it necessary to have a champion of the project in each school who will take it from there to ensure it does not die there and then?I agree with my colleague and I am a supporter of the project. I will do all I can within the committee to ensure funding is continued.Senator Cecilia Keaveney: Information Zoom I welcome the delegation to another forum in another guise. I have just completed a report on how history is taught in areas subject to conflict in recent times. One of the issues that arose when compiling the report was that people spoke about conflict in the Irish context as being the Catholic Church against the Prods in the main, but an investigation of the issues involved shows that people want to know their own identity. They are asking this question because of the extent of immigration, migration and globalisation. It seems to be a core question in many countries. Anyone addressing the question of identity must have his or her finger on the pulse. My report deals with what one calls “the others”; indicates how one should try to say this politely and put oneself in the other person’s shoes. This seems to be what the delegation is trying to do in the context of sport to allow children to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.I recently visited Hazelwood Integrated College where the visit of Glentoran’s leading goal scorer – please excuse my ignorance in not remembering his name – caused great excitement. Everyone lined up to get his autograph and have their photograph taken with him. Sports stars can have far more influence when it comes to these issues than teachers. As I am a teacher, I am speaking against myself. The role played by sports stars could be expanded beyond the issue of racism to deal with issues such as the use rather than the abuse of alcohol.Is this a North-South project? Funding is available under the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation for North-South co-operative work. These issues are not specific to any area. Bigotry and sectaranism seem to present the worst problems in the North and affect Chinese and immigrant communities, as well as those who have traditionally supported Linfield and Glentoran. We do not need to go to Scotland to examine the Rangers versus Celtic issue.The sports fraternity could give some of the gate receipts money back in an attempt to address what is happening in sport. The peace and reconciliation programme presents an opportunity. This will be a core issue for the Minister of State with responsibility for integration matters. I suggest the committee write to him to advocate the work being undertaken by the delegation to ensure it continues.Deputy Joe Behan: Information Zoom I join other members of the committee in welcoming the members of the delegation whom I congratulate on the fantastic work they are doing. Their inspiring voluntary work all around the country is most noteworthy.I note from the documentation provided that Mr. Mullen is the sole employee of the organisation. This is evidence that it is a lean and fit organisation which is appropriate to sport and its voluntary effort must be supported in every way possible. Like my colleague, I would support any request to the Minister of State with responsibility for integration issues to provide funding. I ask the delegation to be specific on the amount of funding being received, how much is being withdrawn and whether it might be replaced under some other heading.As somebody who has been involved in primary school education for most of my working life, I welcome the involvement of the various teachers’ organisations, in particular the ASTI. It is well known that schools and teachers are often of the view that they are expected to solve every problem or meet every challenge in society, whether it is drug abuse, dietary habits and so on. This is because the attitudes and opinions of children are formed from an early age and school is an ideal place to inculcate proper virtues and values. On that basis, I welcome the production of the DVD. Many schoolchildren will identify with the material provided.The document refers to the Traveller community. We do not spend enough time considering that community when dealing with the issue of racism and the fact that sports activities are a great way of integrating Travellers with the settled community. I note that in my home town of Bray every year the local Traveller community development group sponsors and organises a five-a-side soccer tournament which is extremely popular. Teams are comprised of members of the settled Traveller community and also nomadic Travellers. It is a great event which lasts for four weeks. The delegation may be able to include coverage of this event in future publications because it demonstrates what is happening in Bray and north Wicklow.Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill: Information Zoom I add my words of welcome to the delegation. The project is very clever in that the medium of sport is used. Young people identify with sport which facilitates in getting the message across to them. I refer to title of the project, Show Racism the Red Card, which echoes the sporting language used.I ask the delegation for an outline of the work done to date and the number of schools involved. How many have been reached with the programme and what is the age profile? Deputy Behan asked about the cost involved. How much money has been expended to date? Has it been just €25,000, or has more been expended? The funding provided by Pobal would be additional to the €25,000. Will sports organisations such as the FAI and the GAA provide funding?I am glad to see the sports partnerships involved. I am a former chairman of the Donegal sports partnership, of which I am still a member. It brings together on a county basis sports organisations, both voluntary and statutory. The linkage with schools is also commendable and critically important. Schools are where kids congregate on a daily basis and they are easy to reach using this method. Teachers are willing to work closely with the project. What is the plan? Is there a template for the roll-out of the programme on a county-by-county basis?Chairman: Information Zoom I direct my first question to the representatives from the major sporting bodies, the FAI and the GAA. While I know Mr. Farrell is not representing the GAA, he could probably speak very knowledgeably on the subject. The most recognisable FAI players are professional or semi-professional in most cases. Players will give of their time on a worthy issue such as this one. However, if they are amateur rugby or GAA players sometimes they have difficulty with giving extra time. If additional funding were made available could expenses be paid to allow people have time off work or to cover their travel expenses? Would the witnesses envisage that happening in the future?Various sporting bodies have schools programmes involving mentoring children. Is it too early to start these programmes at primary level? I note in the examples given of the three schools they started off with children in a second-level age group. Is that the appropriate time or would it be better to start at a much earlier age?This brings me on to a question for Ms Leyden. I know she is speaking for all three bodies. Let us talk about second level. Every school has a different post of responsibility. What would be the most effective channel in which to push the work of Show Racism the Red Card? Would it be better to have one co-ordinator in every school? What is the situation at present? Is it hit or miss at the moment? What needs to be done by the various schools to play their part?I believe there are only 16 or 17 sports partnerships in the country at the moment. Where they do exist there is a link with local authorities. Has any effort been made to try to get funding via the sports partnerships themselves or to try to leverage something from the local authorities, which would be another source of funding? Small amounts of money can add up and even a grant of €1,000 or €2,000 from each local authority, in which the sports partnerships are involved, would be money into the pot. I echo my colleagues’ comments about trying to leverage funding from the Minister of State with responsibility for integration or any other channel. It is worthwhile and the work should be expanded.Mr. Garrett Mullan: I have taken note of a few of the questions and I will try to remember the rest. We have visited ten schools in recent months to carry out workshops. One of our key activities was carried out jointly with the FAI. The education pack contains coaching activities at the back. This initiative took place over three and four weeks in two separate schools. The idea behind the coaching activities is to go into schools, provide education workshops with young people and the FAI personnel provide coaching with a theme. In Scotland it is called coaching with a conscience. The different learning games are activities adapted from the FAI kick-start coaching course. They are not football specific and therefore can involve people who are not necessarily involved in football. They have themes such as emphasising communication, teamwork and discrimination. The aim is to encourage empathy so that the whole coaching programme can complement an education programme.Regarding the school visits we have done, Deputy Behan suggested that we are a very lean machine. We would need to become a very fat machine if we were to try to personally visit every school in the country because there are thousands of primary schools and hundreds of secondary schools. How do we go about getting a common agenda? I hope the education pack is relatively easy to use. However, it still requires an element of training of personnel. I may ask Ms Leyden to deal with it in more detail. We would like the Department of Education and Science to have a strategic relationship with us in order to get the pack into the schools and used by them. The ASTI has circulated 750 to the CSPE co-ordinators in each school. Eircom League club promotions officers in 15 clubs have circulated education packs to primary schools.HyperLink HyperLink Page 2 of 3 HyperLink HyperLink[Mr. Garrett Mullan]On the issue of whom we target, this programme goes down best with 11 to 15 year olds, who are coming out of primary school and in the early years of secondary school. We have done training since the launch of the programme with personnel in the FAI and the Irish Prison Service in Mountjoy Women’s Prison. We have engaged in such programmes with adults. The message does not stop with children but they are the optimum group for the education pack. We wrote it emphasising CSPE and transition year curricula as good opportunities to use the pack. Ms Leyden may say something about the education centres around the country, which may represent a way for us to provide the training. Many summer courses are available for teachers. We are getting images and links to our website and general promotion of the pack as part of training programmes developed by the Marino Institute of Education and we are also to approach St. Patrick’s College.We engaged in the pilot initiative to establish the idea of a coaching and education programme. Members might have comments to make about the number of hours schools allocate to PE. It touches on that also. That was about a whole-school approach. In one school in Navan we did the work with the teachers first and then with the students so that the teachers would have an understanding and it would be a more cohesive approach than just working simply with the students. That was the approach we took in the pilots and it worked quite well. We learned some good lessons from it.Deputy Feighan asked about funding. Last year we got a grant from the Pobail fund for integration of immigrants. It was established as a one-year fund. However, most organisations that applied thought the fund would continue. However, half way through 2007, obviously after the general election, the office for integration was established. Although an additional €4.2 million was added to the existing €5 million in the fund for integration giving €9.2 million allocated in the budget, the funding streams that the Minister of State is emphasising are different. The money is not going to NGOs or local area partnerships that established integration projects last year under the fund for integration. It has been indicated that it will go to local authorities. It is now half way through the year and no announcements have been made as to how this funding will be distributed. Local authorities and three national governing bodies of sport are being targeted for this funding, as are some faith-based organisations. They are the three streams of funding. Some 22 projects have been affected detrimentally by that decision and we are obviously one of them. We believe our work should continue. That was the decision made by the Office of the Minister for Integration. Although €9.2 million was allocated to that office in November, no announcements have been made on how it will be spent. Broadly that is the case as to where the funding will go.I will speak about our funding and what we have succeeded in doing. We have a relationship with organisations like Basketball Ireland. Smaller sports governing bodies, such as the Irish Table Tennis Association, were mentioned in the project summary. Basic funding of €94,000 was provided for the education pack. That helped to pay for the bulk of the pack. The matching contribution of €15,000 from the FAI last year was crucial. A contribution of €5,000 was made by the Irish Sports Council. We asked the council for an arbitrary amount. Bodies of that nature tend to have objectives which are funded by programmes. It can be hard for them to find resources in the pot. When one contacts various bodies to ask for programme funds, it is hard to have an impact on them. We have asked the Department of Education and Science to provide core funds to meet the cost of employing one office staff member and meeting the office’s expenses. We paid the travel expenses of an amateur sportsperson who attended the launch of the campaign in Malahide. We also have other everyday expenses.I will comment on our other programme work. If we had a strategic relationship with the Department of Education and Science, we could get additional resources. Such moneys might pay for the secondment of a teacher to the project, for example. We have met officials from the probation service with a view to making a proposal to it in respect of another programme. I wish to emphasise the project’s core strategy and focus.The fact that the Gaelic Players Association, Basketball Ireland and the Irish Sports Council contributed towards the funding of our education pack is an indication of where our support lies at present. Our support is growing. We would like that growth to continue.Chairman: Information Zoom I ask Mr. Tomlinson of the Football Association of Ireland to make a few comments.Mr. Des Tomlinson: The FAI contributed funding towards the development of the education pack mentioned by Mr. Mullan because it sees its involvement in Show Racism the Red Card as an important aspect of its corporate and social responsibilities. I have done a great deal of work with Mr. Mullan in relation to my own job. Mr. Mullan referred to the two pilot projects which have been run by the FAI. One of the projects was based in a secondary school in Navan and the other was based in a primary school in Tallaght. Our local development officers linked some of their coaching activities to the themes of the pack. That approach was based on a coaching programme, Football for Peace, that is running in Northern Ireland – I was asked about North-South co-operation – and was previously run in Israel. The programme involves trying to establish values in children through sport. It inspired some of the exercises which are mentioned in the campaign under discussion today. The exercises involve the use of sport as a way of helping children to understand specific values. Our work is not limited to the provision of funding to the campaign. We are involved in real work that is aimed at assisting the project to have an impact on the ground – in schools, for example.I was asked about North-South co-operation and the role of local sports partnerships. I was contacted yesterday by the co-ordinator of the Donegal partnership, who is trying to encourage other non-governmental bodies to offer training in the area. He spoke to me about that in the context of the North-South link. We are working with Mr. Michael Boyd, who is the Irish Football Association’s community relations manager. We may have an opportunity to work with Mr. Mullan on the development of a strategic alliance in providing training that touches on some of the issues in the North.I would like to say that people sometimes understand racism to be “black”. When one watches the DVD and hears the experiences of the children, one can see how that message might be conveyed. I wish to give the committee a feel for what Mr. Mullan and others do to assist children in this regard. When one is working with children, one’s starting point is to ask them what the word “racism” means to them. If one can get them to express their understanding of racism, one can then get them to fill in the gaps. Perhaps Ms Hill can expand on that. We do not define racism purely in terms of colour – we refer to colour, nationality and religion. We try to work with children on such themes. It is important to recognise that. We are talking strategically about matters like funding but we should not forget that at a core level, it is about trying to get children to have a clear understanding of what racism means and how it can have an impact on other people. That is the only comment I would like to add at this point.Chairman: Information Zoom The fact that the children in the schools in which the pilot projects were operated had vastly changed opinions at the end of the scheme demonstrates the validity of what Mr. Tomlinson and Mr. Mullan are saying. Before I ask Ms Hill to contribute, I will invite Mr. Farrell to speak on the same theme.Mr. Dessie Farrell: The important role of sports stars in conveying critical messages has been mentioned. This initiative has achieved some success in that regard. We hope to harness that further in the future.I do not think the value of such projects can be understated. The Gaelic Players Association, which I am representing today, has been involved in this scheme. As we can provide direct access to players, we are inundated with requests from various charities which want us to promote their initiatives. If we get involved with too many organisations, we run the risk of spreading ourselves too thin. In such circumstances, our endorsement of a scheme might not be worth what it should. We have to make measured decisions when we are considering who we should get involved with. The players’ bodies and the players themselves feel passionately about this campaign. Many players have experienced abuse from the terraces. More often, of late, there has been racial abuse as well, linked to what has gone on in this country over the last couple of decades. While we like to think that Ireland is a tolerant nation, the findings outlined in the 2006 ESRI report suggest otherwise.Throughout its history, Ireland has had to ask for the tolerance of other nations, particularly the US. We would like to think that such tolerance is being reciprocated today, as people from other countries who are in need come here, but the ESRI findings I mentioned suggest that is not the case.I am amazed that there is a suggestion that funding should be withdrawn from a project of this nature. It sends out a bad signal not just to the citizens of Ireland but also to people throughout the world. Some people do not think racism is widespread in Ireland, but others suggest differently. To withdraw funding from campaigns and initiatives of this nature would be to set a dangerous precedent. Politicians, parents, teachers, sports organisations and sports stars need to be mindful of the dangers in this regard. This initiative offers us a platform whereby we can develop strategies to make our work far more efficient. I encourage everyone to rethink the proposal to withdraw funding from it.Ms Jennifer Hill: I was asked about funding. I am not in a position to comment on specific funds which are made available through the local sports partnerships. While I work for such a partnership, I am here in more of a personal capacity, as someone who conducted some research as part of the Show Racism the Red Card programme. When I was in my final year in college, I rolled out the programme in south Dublin. I had been in contact with Mr. Mullan through South Dublin County Council. When I was undertaking my research, I got a phenomenal response from the students. It was a small project, with just 62 participants. I got an outstanding outcome from the research.I wish to give the committee a brief insight into some of the statements that were made by the students. They said that the research demonstrated to them what other people go through, helped them to see other people’s points of view and showed them what it is like to be in other people’s shoes. The most common issue raised in the workshop was being able to express one’s opinion. This gives rise to the possibility of rolling out the initiative in the school environment as it provides a supporting environment for children to open up and express their opinions. The project made people more aware of the problem of racism and ways in which it can be stopped. More workshops should be held around the country. Speaking on behalf of a local sports partnership, they are always open to avenues for funding integration in sport.Ms Moira Leyden: Information Zoom Caithfidh mé an Ghaeilge a labhairt ar son na múinteoirí, chun a thaispeáint don choiste go bhfuilimid fós ag tabhairt tacaíocht don teanga. I have the privilege of representing the three teacher unions. Many issues were raised, including a number of broader generic issues of race and interculturalism that Senator Keaveney discussed. The joint committee will have an opportunity to contribute to the forthcoming consultative paper on interculturalism for education which will be prepared by the Minister for Education and Science by the end of September. I recently read some transcripts of the committee’s earlier discussions which showed it has some rich information available to it and has heard a variety of rich perspectives backed up by considerable experience in this area. The joint committee could make an informed contribution to the consultation process.On the teaching unions’ involvement in this type of activity, one of the strengths of our education system is its strong emphasis on the holistic development of children and our role in society. While we have a fine curriculum at primary and second level in terms of promoting human rights values and the broadest possible education for children, nonetheless the formal curriculum is always enriched by projects such as Show Racism the Red Card. For instance, it is an excellent idea in the formal curriculum for civic, social and political education, CSPE, to bring into a school a football star such as Dessie Farrell who will talk and relate to the kids. This is the best form of learning because it is experiential and the information sinks into pupils.Deputy Behan used the term “schools formation”. This is precisely the work schools do; they engage in the formation of young people and their values and attitudes. Having projects such as Show Racism the Red Card complementing the mainstream curriculum is invaluable. Their role cannot be highlighted enough.Senator Ryan made an interesting and relevant point when he asked what happens in schools when the project finishes. Having read Ms Hill’s report from cover to cover, I noted her amazement about the great feeling and buzz in the schools. I am not amazed by this because it happens all the time in schools. Having projects creates a moral climate among all pupils and teachers that the school believes this type of work is important and wants it to continue. This is an important statement.The other way in which the project continues is that most schools have student mentor systems and prefects who would be very aware of issues such as racism, bullying, and so on. I discussed this issue with Mr. Mullan the other day. We do not often hear the word “racism” used in our schools but we hear the word “bullying”. There is a subtle difference between these terms, as the latter is more all-encompassing. We can be broadly confident that in most cases schools have good systems in place to deal with bullying and profound conflicts between children.The Chairman’s point about establishing posts of responsibility in schools brought a smile to my lips. When I say we are not discussing that issue at the moment I am being flippant because talks are taking place with particular relevance to the ASTI in that area. It is not efficient to have formal co-ordinators for most programmes. Programmes such as Show Racism the Red Card can enrich schools if they are pushed by the Department. A formal acknowledgement that the project is valuable is required and time should be made available for it. This means releasing teachers from their classes to attend training courses at their local education centre. This would promote the dissemination of these types of projects. Co-ordinators are costly and not always relevant. It is more important that the appropriate support is given and teachers are released to attend training for these types of projects.Children get involved in this type of workshop and fantastic stuff takes place. They think at a deep level and relate their experience to what the teacher is trying to say to them. However, for this to be sustained one needs teachers in schools. The old adage, that if schools want to do good things they must have teachers, applies. If we really want this type of work to enrich our high performing education system, we must think long term and abandon short-term measures such as cutbacks and reducing ratios. The best resource in the school is not fancy buildings but teachers. Without sufficient numbers of teachers we will not be able to do what society wants us to do.Chairman: Information Zoom Two clear messages have emerged thus far. The first, on funding, is that our guests do not care from where funding comes, whether it is from the Department of Education and Science, the office of the Minister with responsibility for integration, Pobal, the FAI or the GPA. The message for the joint committee is that it would be helpful if the Department were to take a proactive role and facilitate the education and training of teachers, rather than allowing the initiative to develop organically. I have a draft of the wording of a recommendation to be made to the Ministers for Education and Science and Social and Family Affairs and the Minister of State with responsibility for integration. I hope members will agree the text when we discuss it in private session. Do members have further comments or questions?Senator Brendan Ryan: Information Zoom Ms Leyden indicated that establishing posts of responsibility may not be the best way to tackle racism and generating a culture in the school is a better approach. Will she comment on the role of the principal in providing leadership in this area? In her experience of visiting schools, have principals been willing to be involved in the further roll-out of the programme? Recently, when I visited a school in my constituency to share with students how the Oireachtas works, I had to search for the principal to inform him of my presence. I did not want to leave the school without greeting him. Has Ms Leyden had similar experiences? Has she received the support of principals?Ms Moira Leyden: Information Zoom The Senator’s experience in the school in question, which he obviously does not wish to identify, is unusual and regrettable. Principals, as political animals, are aware of the importance of receiving guests such as Senator Ryan and of being able to communicate with them. The role of principals in any school is critical, particularly in terms of creating climates and cultures through projects.Later this year, the OECD will publish a report on leadership in schools in member countries. It has already published a national report on Ireland in which it makes some strong recommendations, which I do not propose to discuss at this meeting. The Senator is correct, however, that unless the principal, at the apex of the school organisation, is focused and supportive, the climate of his or her school will not reflect a supportive approach. This is not so much the case in primary schools which tend to be smaller and have a more coherent type of curriculum. At second level, however, schools offer as many as 35 subjects and have up to 90 teachers. They are, therefore, a much different organisational space on which to imprint one’s leadership qualities. This is a particularly challenging task and members should bear this mind when discussing leadership in future.Deputy Frank Feighan: Information Zoom Has the worthwhile Show Racism the Red Card initiative applied to the GAA for funding? Has it been denied such funding or has it been provided in a different guise? It would be worthwhile to have all the sports bodies singing from the same hymn sheet.Mr. Garrett Mullan: I will address the issue of schools first. Some of the material in our pack was produced in the light of the fact that we were funded from the integration fund. Given the nature of the CSP and the transition year curriculum, the object is to encourage project work and group activity on the part of young people. However, the suggested activities we mention arise not so much from our own brilliant minds but rather from the brilliant work taking place in schools. Many schools have organised international days and attempted to cope with their diversity. In producing the education pack we had an opportunity to allow them to share knowledge on good activities. The good cultural aspects of a school are emphasised and our project can support them in this regard. We are asking for core funding from the Department of Education and Science for at least one office with a view to covering personnel and associated expenses.With regard to the sports governing bodies, we have a very strong relationship with the FAI and the Gaelic Players Association. The latter was able to source a grant but it has not yet been able to spend it because it is contingent on our funding for the next year. It supports the idea of coaching with a conscience. We received funding from the FAI amounting to €25,000 for this year and next year and it is guaranteed into the following year. We approached the top representatives of the GAA about this time last year with a view to seeking its support for our programme. It has not given us funding, although it is engaging in intercultural programme work. Perhaps Mr. Farrell will comment on the politics of the GAA. I have had relationships with local games development officers because we have produced GAA-oriented resources featuring profiled inter-county players. We have had grassroots contact. My organisation is probably considered small in dealing with a body such as the GAA. Perhaps Mr. Farrell will address this.Table Tennis Ireland is an example of a small governing body of a sport that is very popular in countries from where many immigrants come but which is not very popular or resourced in Ireland. Our contact with the city council resulted in the organisation of a table tennis event with a view to strengthening the organisation, thus promoting real integration. We have organised a number of such events with various organisations, including Badminton Ireland. Volleyball Ireland is also engaging in intercultural work, while Basketball Ireland has made the case for funding from the fund administered by the office of the Minister of State with responsibility for integration issues.Such organisations have sports requirements but ours is primarily concerned with the education project. We can support other groups’ intercultural programmes such as that of the FAI – that is where our remit lies. We do not want to duplicate the work of any organisation and hope we can establish as many supportive relationships as possible. We will be returning to the Irish Sports Council with a view to offering general support. Its capacity is more limited than last year because I do not believe the local sports partnerships will receive this year the funding they received last year under the national action plan against racism. This is because the funding streams have changed.Chairman: Information Zoom Delegates are not obliged to answer any questions that may cause consternation between the Gaelic Players Association and the GAA.Mr. Dessie Farrell: I am fully aware of that.Deputy Frank Feighan: Information Zoom At least we know he is a Dublin supporter.Mr. Dessie Farrell: As Mr. Mullan rightly stated, the GAA has embarked on its own intercultural programme, albeit in a small way to date. What is occurring is a first step. That is important.Mr. Mullan requested funding in the past. Given the political sensitivities between the Gaelic Players Association and the GAA in the past seven or eight years, it tended to be the case that the GAA did not necessarily want to become involved in any of the initiatives, campaigns or projects in which the GPA became involved, and vice versa. I am thankful we seem to have moved on from this. We have obviously moved into official recognition talks and there are ongoing negotiations on the issue. Player welfare, sponsorship, commercial activity and charity campaigns will be covered in the negotiations and we desire a co-operative model regarding a host of issues. I feel very strongly that the area in question is one in which both the GAA and the GPA could become involved. I hope the net effect would be funding for a project such as that in question. It is still in the pipeline.Chairman: Information Zoom The pertinent points have been made. I thank Mr. Mullan, the co-ordinator, Mr. Tomlinson, Ms Hill, Mr. Farrell and Ms Leyden for a very informative and pertinent contribution. I also thank members for keeping their questions relevant. When we go into private session, we will try to formulate a recommendation for the relevant Ministers.The joint committee went into private session at 10.45 a.m. and adjourned at 11.30 a.m. until 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, 3 July 2008.HyperLink HyperLink Page 3 of 3

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