Blog

2022 in review

HUGE THANKS to everyone who worked with us in 2022.

It’s been an incredibly busy year for us, and a very satisfying one!

We had 3 full-time team members, 2 part time, and 11 project staff, based in Dublin, Galway and Belfast.

  • Dr Lucy Michael – Director
  • Dr Niloufar Omidi – Senior Researcher (Human Rights Law)
  • Dan Reynolds – Researcher (Social Analysis)
  • Dr Ka Ka Tsang – Researcher
  • Dr Marta Kempny – Researcher (Social Analysis) (not in photo)
  • Megan Elliott – Executive Assistant

We are grateful for all our team members and partners and how they help us to further our work on equity, inclusion and justice.

The She Leads Fingal programme was designed and led with 5 prominent local leaders in Fingal. Ayo Yusuf, Geraldine Rooney and Catherine Joyce led the in-person delivery with Lucy.

The Belfast Inequalities research was conducted with a team of 8 peer researchers from the city.

  • Maria Teglas
  • Ezzaldin Thabet
  • Nattassa Latcham
  • Marty Pilkiewicz
  • Mary McDonagh
  • Salwa Al Sharabi
  • Eva Logan
  • Support: Denis Long and Pauline McGarry

The Belfast Inequalities programme was delivered in partnership with ACSONI and POLCA.

Our clients this year in Ireland, the UK and Europe included:

Arts Council of Ireland

Belfast City Council

Church of Ireland

Croí na Gaillimhe SVP Asylum Support Group

Fingal County Council

Galway City Partnership

European Network Against Racism

EU Fundamental Rights Agency

Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC)

Irish Deaf Society

Irish Council of Churches

Irish Network Against Racism

Maynooth University

New Communities Partnership

Policing Authority

University of Galway

From the archives: Race Equality Works for Northern Ireland

In December 2015, Business in the Community in the UK published a major report on racial equality in UK workplaces. While this was an important piece of research, there were some obvious gaps in the Northern Ireland data.

Business in the Community Northern Ireland in partnership with Dr Lucy Michael and Maciek Bator of Craic NI undertook new research to explore the steps Northern Ireland’s employers are taking and the challenges they are facing in identifying and addressing racial inequality in the workplace.

The report Race Equality Works for Northern Ireland highlighted employers’ key considerations when addressing racist exclusion, discrimination, and unconscious bias in the workplace, both for BME staff and for staff considered ‘migrant workers’.

A range of measures were taken to address the race-equality agenda, including making dedicated budgets available for training, interventions and positive reinforcement, and hiring staff experienced in dealing with equality duties.

Organisations that perceived equality efforts as a central part of the human resources function reported higher rates of confidence among staff to address new issues identified and to reflect on workforce planning.

A unique feature of this study was that participants were asked, in interviews, to identify ways in which their own organisation could improve on race-equality efforts, which encourages an incremental approach to moving forward on race equality, while considering time and resources.

Prompts included thinking about ways to draw on past achievements, leveraging strategic opportunities to highlight positive experiences of diversity, or adopting new equality measures.

Obstacles to new activities were time, resources, competing demands in the ‘equality agenda’, and a lack of interest from management.

Most of these activities directly linked to bullying and harassment prevention or resolution, but some also addressed recruitment and selection activities, and a few mentioned interest in addressing promotion or progression.

Just under half of employers suggested that they could monitor ethnic or national identities more widely; however, for organisations with small numbers of BME or foreign-born employees, they were unsure about how to make use of that monitoring data. Almost all employers looked to the Northern Ireland census to benchmark BME participation in their business.

Clear links between diversity and excellence will drive focus and will ensure that efforts to address equality in the workplace are effective and efficient. Strategies should be longer term and should aim to raise awareness, so that you consult staff on their ongoing impact and can evaluate the impact of any strategies implemented. Short-term, strategies can be useful in making a start on race-equality work (particularly if other equality groups are significantly more embedded in the organisation), but they should be a prelude to an established and sufficiently resourced equality strategy.

Business in the Community NI’s Denise Cranston commented: “Progressive employers have, for some time, been integrating equality and diversity initiatives into core business functions, such as organisational strategy and talent-management programmes. But this research shows that they need to do more to achieve greater race and ethnic diversity. Business in the Community fully supports the recommendations in the report and calls upon all employers to commit to taking action in order to take full advantage of the opportunity that migrant and ethnic workers present.”

The results have been used to develop a new toolkit for local employers, sharing steps they can take to improve race equality in the workplace; these include the following:

  • Clearly communicating the value of diversity in an organisation
  • Committing to raising awareness of racial bias
  • Being aware of the wider context of high levels of racism in Northern Ireland, and that it is not the preserve of any particular group
  • Making sense of local demographics and the wider picture of race equality in Northern Ireland
  • Using open and transparent communication, with consultation and feedback being key to understanding how well established the message about diversity is
  • Being confident, knowledgeable and comfortable when talking about racial bias
  • Showcasing success by creating visibility for diverse role models
  • Keeping equality on the table and considering how the value of diversity is reflected in business activities

Download the Report

Inequalities in Belfast – full report

We are happy to say that the report Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller people residing in Belfast, produced for Belfast City Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and Public Health NI, with ACSONI and POLCA, is now available in multiple formats.

Cover of the Research Summary Report

We are happy to say that the report Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller people residing in Belfast, produced for Belfast City Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and Public Health NI, with ACSONI and POLCA, is now available in multiple formats.

Read the Summary Report online 

Download the report:

 Summary to download (from ACSONI website)

Full Report to download (from ACSONI website)

Get a printed copy:

Printed copies of summary in English, Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Romanian and Somali available from goodrelations@belfastcity.gov.uk.


Download our infographics to share information from the research report


Inequalities in Belfast

Great media coverage from yesterday for our new report on Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller Residents of Belfast.

‘Call For Action’ On Inequalities Experienced By Minority Communities | Northern Ireland News, 01/12/2022 (4ni.co.uk)

Belfast’s ethnic minorities face racism, poverty and isolation, report finds – VIEWdigital

Belfast Council report on ethnic inequalities in city a “sobering” read – Belfast Live

Inequalities research should be a `call to action’ – The Irish News

Belfast: ‘People are having to leave their home due to racism’ – BBC News

Belfast’s ethnic minorities face racism and poverty, report finds – BBC News

Launch: Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller Residents of Belfast

We are very excited to share our new report being launched today at City Hall Belfast.
The report on Inequalities Experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller Residents of Belfast, was commissioned by Belfast City Council with Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Public Health Agency NI. It is the first Council commissioned report of its kind in Belfast.
Our research partners are ACSONI and POLCA.


The research interviews were conducted in English, Arabic, Polish, Romanian, Cantonese and other native languages by a team of peer researchers from minority ethnic and migrant communities in Belfast.


The Executive Summary will be available on the Council website today in multiple languages. The full report PDF will be shared online by research partners and also available on request by email from the Council.

New Know Your Rights Guide for International Protection Applicants in Ireland launch

New Know Your Rights Guide for International Protection Applicants in Ireland launch

A new Know Your Rights guide for international protection applicants has been published by ICCL and the Irish Refugee Council.

The Know Your Rights Guide for International Protection Applicants offers a comprehensive guide to the application process and rights while in Ireland, including in work, education, voting, protection from crime and access to supports.

The Guide also emphasises the fundamental freedoms that all humans have, and how they are protected in Irish law. This includes civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to protest, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and the right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.

The Guide outlines the current law in a clear and accessible manner to empower international protection applicants to both exercise and vindicate their rights.

The Guide is available at www.iccl.ie/your-rights/

It is currently available online in English, with publication due shortly of French and Arabic versions.

Posters to promote the Guide can be requested from enquiries@lucymichael.ie

The Guide was authored by Dr Niloufar Omidi and Dr Lucy Michael with assistance from Roos Demol, Doireann Ansbro and Sinead Nolan at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Nick Henderson, Katie Mannion and Alan O’Leary at the Irish Refugee Council (IRC), and Claire O’Riordan and Elizabeth O’Shea at the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA).

This guide was funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC).

Special thanks to protection applicants

Special thanks are due to the international protection applicants who gave their time to take part in the feedback groups about this guide. Their thoughtful responses to questions and their discussions helped make this guide as useful as possible. Many thanks also to Zoe Phiri for her assistance in organising
these feedback groups with international protection applicants.
Thanks to case-workers, advisors and others Many thanks also to the case-workers and advisors at the following non-governmental organisations
who provided invaluable advice and assistance: Doras, Crosscare, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), Jesuit Refugee Service (JRC), New Communities Partnership (NCP) and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI).

Poster showing booklet cover and parts – available on request

Capacity Building workshops with our Belfast research team

L to R: Ezzaldin, Mary, Marty, Eva, Marta, Salwa, Pauline, Csilla, Maria, Dan

We are currently undertaking research in partnership with ACSONI, POLCA and Belfast Intercultural Romanian Association on behalf of Belfast City Council to make recommendations to address ethnic inequalities across a variety of domains, including but not exclusive to: health, education, employment and civic and political participation.

The research and report will inform the city’s Community Planning document, the ‘Belfast Agenda’, which sets out a shared vision for the future of the city and seeks to improve the lives and wellbeing outcomes of all citizens in Belfast.

Interviewers have been hired from a range of ethnic, national and linguistic backgrounds who have strong connections in the stakeholder communities for this research. Each of the interviewers have been provided with training on ethics and interview methods, technique and data management. This has been supplemented by feedback and support throughout the data collection process.

Two additional capacity-building workshops funded by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust provide opportunities for training and collaboration on data analysis, giving the interviewers detailed insight into how data is interpreted and refined for presentation and the process of identifying and composing recommendations. They are supported to increase their contribution to the interpretation of data and composition of recommendations through this process.

L to R: Ezzaldin, Mary, Marta, Eva, Csilla, Salwa, Maria, Marty, Nattassa, Dan, standing in the hallway of Accidental Theatre Belfast, all smiling widely

Hate Crime Hurts Us All

Today saw the Coalition for Hate Crime launch of the new campaign #HateCrimesHurtUsAll with incredible speakers talking about personal and community experiences of hate and the ripple effects of hate crimes – harm on an individual, community, and societal level.

The Coalition Against Hate Crime Ireland is a civil society coalition whose Members represent groups commonly targeted by hate crimes, including minority ethnic groups, LGBTQI communities, disabled people, and others, as well as academics and researchers working to advance the aims and objectives of the Coalition. @ICCL is the current chair of the Coalition.

The objective of the Coalition is to promote meaningful reform of the law, policy and practice as it relates to hate crime in Ireland including, but not limited to:

hate crime legislation;
improving data collection in the reporting and recording of hate crime and hate incidents;
education; training and awareness raising activities;
hate speech;
cyber hate crime;
supporting victims of hate crime and assuring effective implementation of the Victims Directive.


The campaign is now online
https://www.iccl.ie/news/standbyme-2/
#HateCrimesHurtUsAll

Clockwise: Liam, Patrisha, Blessing, Pradeep, Luna, Lucy, Martin and Ailsa.

Speaking at the launch, Lucy addressed the issue of societal impact.

“Hate crime impacts are felt by people who share some element of identity with the targeted person and those who have a relationship with them – that can include a very large number of people in any community. 

Hate crimes are message crimes. They are committed in order to send a message. They send a message to key groups to be fearful, and to accept a lower status in society, and that message reverberates loudly through the communities around those with a targeted identity. Hate crime isolates.

As Pradeep said, the effects on the victim are long term. So are the same effects on our society. People often imagine a divided society beginning with political statements. But divided societies begin with unsafety.

I’m only standing here because it’s been my privilege to work with a wide variety of groups experiencing hate crime and discrimination. Thank you to the INAR for allowing me to do that with you and the Coalition for allowing me to contribute on that basis.
In 8 years of doing media work around INARs data on racist hate crime, we have always been struck that there has been much more interest by the media in single stories than in the expertise that minority groups develop around patterns of hate. We have had to work hard to amplify that. We have much, as a society, to learn from those who experience hate. As Ailsa and Martin both said, too often, people experiencing hate crime are let down by police and other institutions who deny its very existence. The constant fear that it will happen again tomorrow is the most significant impact of hate crime.

The impact of hate crime on the wider community is intended, not accidental. Hate crimes send the message that selected persons are not entitled to live their lives peacefully and with dignity in our society, and that they are lesser than an imagined majority in the society. They make invisible the commonalities we have with one another, and instead highlight selected differences, whether those be gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religion. 


They mark out selected identities for victimisation, poor treatment, less empathy, exclusion, and blame for their experiences of hate and exclusion. Hate crimes divide societies, communities and networks at every level. 
That’s why it’s important to take account of the very serious impact they have on an individual, but also our society at large.

Legislation sends a counter message. It sets out that all belong equally, all deserve dignity and safety. Our children, our neighbours, our work colleagues, everyone who lives in and is part of our communities, is protected by the law and should feel it’s protection.

Hate crimes often target one – one person, one venue, one family, one house, but hurt us all.”

Listen back

Is racial discrimination a problem in our third level institutions? RTE Morning Ireland

Language barriers creating difficulties for Syrians resettling in Ireland – on RTE Morning Ireland, Razan Ibraheem, Irish-Syrian journalist, discusses our report on the integration of Syrian refugees in Ireland.

Falling down the Covid conspiracy rabbit hole. Lucy talks to TippFM interview on disinformation, the far-right, Covid conspiracies, and the right to protest.

How do you deradicalise your close relative who has gone down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole? Newstalk interview with Henry McKean following anti-lockdown protest in Dublin

On the Policed podcast, Nana Nubi and Lucy Michael speak to Dr Vicky Conway about questions and concerns emerging from the killing of George Nkencho by the Armed Response Unit, including the right to life, policing and racism, policing mental health, and accountability  https://tortoiseshack.ie/policed-the-beat-george-nkencho/

On Reboot Republic podcast, Rory Hearne and Lucy talk about racism, Direct Provision, deportations, and the resistance to the far-right in Ireland. https://open.spotify.com/episode/6COdYPh3EQQeRhaRpzRwzV?si=azaQlA2wSs2fDVHh6aGsMw

In the last of The Black & Irish podcast series, Amanda speaks with Lucy about her work with INAR, how allyship needs to be developed, and understanding the importance of unconscious bias. https://www.rte.ie/lifestyle/living/2020/1221/1185734-dr-lucy-michael-on-allyship-racism-and-unconscious-bias/

On the Policed podcast, Majo Rivas, Fiona Finn and Lucy Michael discuss migrant experiences with An Garda Siochana https://podcasts.apple.com/ie/podcast/the-policed-podcast/id1529864553?i=1000490064976