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Comhar Policy Bulletin June 2023  

Do enquire about any items for further information. Please get in touch with us via the email below.  

Best wishes,  

Christian Zik Nsonwu   

Policy & Public Affairs Manager  

Please see below our latest Comhar policy bulletin. This edition covers:  

  • Irish in Britain Activities

  • Irish in Britain Letter to the Times 

  • House of Lords charities campaign appeal 

  • The Guardian’s ethnic inequality article 

  • British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC)

  • NCVO to take over FSI 

  • New UK equalities tracking data

  • Policy Updates from Members 

Irish in Britain letter to the Times 

In April, Irish in Britain wrote a letter to the editor of the Times responding to their offensive cartoon following President Biden's trip to Ireland. The cartoon depicted old Irish tropes and we expressed our disappointment with the Times for using these stereotyped images. They were published during an important milestone in UK-Irish intergovernmental relations celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. We have yet to hear back from the Times. 

House of Lords appeal to working with charities 

A  new House of Lords campaign aims to make it easier for small charities to engage with the House and effect change. The House of Lords has published a guide on how charities can understand and engage with Peers to champion their cause. 

The Guardian’s ethnic inequality article 

A recent report on ethnic inequality revealed that Irish, Jewish and Traveller people are among the most abused communities in Britain. The research was carried out by academics from the universities of St Andrews, Manchester and King's College, London and was published in a book called Racism and Ethnic Inequality in a Time of Crisis. This research highlights the different experiences of and prevalence of discrimination in Britain. To read the Guardian article discussing the study, see here. To read the Guardian article discussing the study, see here.  

British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference

Earlier this week, the Irish and British governments met at the BIIGC to discuss important areas of bilateral cooperation. The conference noted that 2023 marks the centenary of the Common Travel Area (CTA) and reiterated their shared commitment to protecting and upholding the reciprocal rights of UK and Irish citizens to live, work and travel in either jurisdiction. 

The CTA is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, and Ireland. Under the CTA, British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services. 

The conference noted the announcement of the electronic travel authorisations (ETA) scheme published in March 2023. They confirmed that those legally resident in Ireland will not need an ETA when travelling to the UK from within the Common Travel Area. 

NCVO takes over FSI's assets following its closure 

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has announced it will be taking over the key small charity assets of the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) after it closed in May due to funding issues. The company ceased operations on 2 May and transferred the running of Small Charity Week to NCVO, which it had already planned to partner with on the project. NCVO will oversee the FSI portfolio until it can establish partnerships for long-term management. 

NCVO is offering free NCVO membership to FSI members whose annual turnover is under £50,000. 

UK equalities data 

The ONS and the Government Statistical Service (GSS) have produced a site with a search facility for data and publications on the protected characteristics codified under the Equality Act. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. Users can access a wide variety of information, such as those more at risk of crime through discrimination or disadvantage. 

Policy Updates from Members 

Traveller Movement Policy Webinar: Formal Education & ETE Needs 

On 28 June, the Traveller Movement will host a webinar as a continuation of their Roads to Success programme. In 2021 they published the Roads to Success which is a peer-led needs analysis to assess employment, training, and educational challenges (ETE) needs, and opportunities for young people from Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller backgrounds in the UK.  

This webinar will bring together a diverse range of stakeholders in education and youth provision to discuss these barriers in formal education, and how they can be addressed. 

Friends, Families and Travellers article 

Friends, Families and Travellers spoke with the House of Comments podcast and the Scotsman, to discuss racism and responding to Diane Abbott’s since-withdrawn letter on racism in Britain.