celebrate Mass in Blanchardstown for the Brazilians who work in Clonee, in
Keepak. There are a regular group of
about 50, and we often use the songs they know from Vila Fabril, which is a
small area in the city of
group is in Naas, where they are working for Kilkee Meats and again they are
nearly all from the same place in
the last year I have started saying Mass in Gort and Loughrea where there are
big numbers of Brazilians. This came
about as another SVD priest, home from
In all these places there is a regular stream of requests about how to process things; immigration problems or marriage or baptism issues. The local clergy are only delighted to have help.
There have been quite a few cases of discrimination against Brazilians. I have called together those who have work permits to become members of SIPTU. I have been instrumental in mobilising workers in a number of meat processing plants in different parts of the country. The officials and SIPTU members are very happy to see this happen. I have also brought some people to the Equality Authority and their cases are still pending.
I am regularly called to different
courts or Garda Stations around
Recognising the need to have some
sort of a clearing house for new arrivals, who turn up every week, we decided
to form a legal entity to be able to run services. Hence the Centro de Apoio de Brasileiros na
Irlanda was born, a Brazilian support group. This was formally registered as a not for profit company in the
summer and now I find that Brazilians have heard about this in various parts of
A number of reporters have asked for contacts or for help in their work. Students in different third level colleges have asked to interview me or for me to help them interview Brazilians who are the concern of their thesis. I have been called on by researchers doing their homework for different programmes, both for local radio and for RTE.
Fr. Bobby Gilmore SSC (Director of the Migrants Rights Center Ireland) has invited me to represent him at different gatherings. In one case it was for a renewal day for diocesan clergy and they were clearly aware of the fact of having migrants in their parishes. Their main concern was how to do anything to reach out to them, not having any language skills or even having been abroad at all.
In a similar vein I have been called on to make presentations to adult education groups, looking at the factors behind migration and explaining how things are to make such an adventure a very viable option for those who are living from hand to mouth with no prospects of things improving where they live.
Citizens Information Centre
A suggestion was made to me early this year to make myself available in some office on a regular basis. This was to be able to offer advice/orientation to Brazilian/Portuguese speakers about employment/ housing/ medical/ schooling/ immigration issues. So I started attending every Monday night in the Citizens Information Centre in Blanchardstown. I speak French as well as Portuguese and I have been able to use French more often than Portuguese there.
Building on this I started attending a course run by Comhairle (Formerly the National Social Services Board) which is designed to form people to become accredited information providers. I am now in the middle of the academic year and I have been invited to participate in another more concentrated course about the situation regarding migrants, also run by Comhairle.
As can be seen there is a fair amount of juggling of my diary in trying to keep things moving but so far I have not had any major problems. When I started out at the beginning of the year I did not have a clearly defined target but now at the end of the year I can see there are plenty of possibilities and I am more than pleased with what I have achieved so far.