Bringing diversity and colour to the Border counties. Front _from left_ Jan and Saoirse Fay, Philippines_ Stanley Nwaneri, Nigeria_ Evija Nwaneri, Latvia_ Vanda Brady, Philippines, organiser of the conferen.jpg

Conference seeks to bridge the Brexit gap for migrants


Sean McMahon

Ever since Brexit became a household word three years ago here in the border counties, and indeed all over Britain and Europe, the fallout and possible resolution has exercised great minds and convulsed the House of Commons. Regardless of how it all pans out, workers from countries from all over the world, who work on both sides of the Border, are fearful for their future.

With that in mind, a conference has been organised for the Cavan Crystal Hotel this Saturday, June 1, from 2-6.30pm.
It's believed to be the first cross-border event of its kind, where three jurisdictions will join in celebrating diversity and inclusion in the central Border region, an area most exposed to the risks of Brexit.
There will be distinguished guests and speakers from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the UK.
This event has been facilitated by Vanda Brady of Outreach Ireland and is funded by Cavan County Council. It also coincides with Phillipine Independence Day and there will be a message by Raymond Garrett, Philippine Honorary Consul to Ireland.
The conference will examine how Brexit will affect the marginalised migrant community in the Border counties and recognising their presence, rights and valuable contribution.
“The whole idea of Brexit is very unsettling for everyone. Whether or not there will be a hard border, a lot of changes will be happening,” Vanda told the Celt ahead of the event.
There will be a focus on how Brexit could potentially affect the migrant community working in the mushroom industry in the Border counties and in agriculture generally. Jobs could be affected in the mushroom and meat industries. Sinead Dooley, deputy CEO of Irish Rural Link, will be explaining what changes will come into effect, when the outworkings of the Brexit saga become clear to all.
Bronagh Hinds, who was very much involved with the Good Friday Agreement, is also among the speakers at the conference.
A Filipino woman herself, Vanda works with the Phillipine Consulate in Dublin and has been working with the Filipino community throughout Ireland.
Over the past year, Vanda has been involved in founding and launching the Cavan Cross Cultural Community with support from Breffni Integrated. They were given an award by Cavan County Council for their work in the whole area of social inclusion.
The conference will be streamed on Facebook Live to bring the message to a wider audience and there will be a podcast available.