Multilingual videos to better inform Ireland’s migrants on Covid-19

Foreign nationals in meat plants and living in direct provision still lack details on virus – campaigner

A series of videos translated into 30 foreign languages have launched today to help inform Ireland’s migrant communities on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and on the lifting of restrictions over the coming weeks.

The video series, spearheaded by the Together Ireland initiative and the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre (Nasc), features public health messages from international doctors and healthcare professionals living in Ireland with advice including what to do if a person tests positive for the virus and information on the Government's phased reopening plans.

Many migrants in Ireland do not speak English and so do not listen to Irish radio, watch Irish television or read Irish newspapers, according to Graham Clifford, who organised the video series.

“We know that not all people in Ireland today consume public health information on Covid-19 in the same way,” said Mr Clifford. “Many migrants get their information online, via Youtube or from news agencies in their home countries, as so many young Irish migrants do when living abroad. But often the public health advice from elsewhere can be very different to our own.”


He said the videos would be particularly important for people working in meat factories, which hire large numbers of foreign nationals and where as many as 600 workers have already tested positive for the virus. Residents in direct provision centres are also in need of great clarity around how the virus spreads, he added.

“We’re a modern multicultural country and so during a national public health emergency like this, we need to make sure we communicate with all sections of our society effectively and use methods which work. If we’re all in this together then it’s vital no one is left behind.”

Communication criticised

Mr Clifford criticised the HSE for failing to comprehensively communicate health advice and information on restrictions to migrant communities during the pandemic, and said all scripts for the video series were written by GPs and presented in a “culturally appropriate style”.

The HSE currently has Covid-19 information leaflets available online in 24 languages.

Political parties involved in government-formation negotiations needed to recognise the importance of developing “an effective and functioning migrant integration strategy” so that migrant communities are not forgotten in situations such as the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Clifford added.

“If we haven’t built up communication and understanding during normal times, how can we expect to comprehend the challenges facing migrants at a time like this and help them?

"We need more than translated documents and Africa Days once a year – we need effective, clever, organic community integration which benefits everyone in society and harnesses the assets and abilities of all who now call this country home."

All 30 health information videos, which will be updated as restrictions are lifted, can be viewed at and include recordings in Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Croatian, Georgian, Hindi, Kurdish, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Pashto, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Swahili, Urdu and Yoruba.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast