• The Future of Europe comes under the spotlight at Blanchardstown

    A series of healthy debates have taken place in Blanchardstown Library as European Direct hosted three “Conference on the Future of Europe” events aimed at gaining local insights into what challenges and opportunities currently exist across Europe and encouraging the people of Fingal to share their thoughts on what could be done to help shape a common future.  

    There was a comprehensive range of topics discussed throughout the sessions, with ideas proposed during the events submitted to a dedicated website where other insights from all over the European Union (EU) are collected.

    Kicking of proceedings was as session focused on Youth and Education, with members from Comhairle na nÓg at the Fingal County Council chamber in Swords. Attendees examined education policy at an EU level and discussed what they would change, what could be improved and what recommendations they would make to decision makers.

    This was followed by an insightful session on the topic of Migration and Integration, held with the members of the Fingal Integration Forum, the Fingal Ethnic Network and by participants currently based in Lebanon, Germany and Afghanistan. The group discussed how migrants could best be supported in contributing to European society and how the EU could best help to foster successful integration of migrants.

    Finally, an online session with the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman TD took place, with debate around the topic of Disability and Employment. Both the briefing meeting and consultation were attended by members of the Blanchardstown Centre for Independent Living as well as several disability activists. 

    During the meeting, participants gave their views on how the EU could support the recruitment of people with disabilities into the workplace and proposed ideas on what the EU could do to make it easier for people with disabilities to integrate and remain in the workplace.

    Fingal Integration Officer Valerie McAllorum Byrne said: “Integration is about interacting with others, understanding and respect between cultures in a community, where all residents are enabled to fully participate and contribute to their communities, irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, religious or cultural background.”