SURVEY: Romani figures respond to the choice of Jiránek as director of Czech Gov't Agency for Social Inclusion
Radek Jiránek, head of the Crime Prevention Department at the Czech Interior Ministry, is the new director of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion.
Seven people applied for the position, only six of whom eventually participated in the second round. The two best candidates were considered Jiránek and Marek Hojsík of the Open Society (Otevřená společnost) organization, where he works as the manage of the Open Opportunities for Roma (Otevřené příležitosti pro Romy) program.
Jiránek applied for the position of the Agency head five years ago. Martin Šimáček was selected instead.
Jiránek is a graduate in social work from Charles University. He has worked at the Interior Ministry for 19 years, most recently leading the Crime Prevention Department, and now is entrusted with leading the Prevention Division.
News server Romea.cz has contacted Romani figures for their responses to two questions:
2. What do you believe this means for the future direction of the Agency?
Karel Holomek, chair, Society of Roma in Moravia (Společenství Romů na Moravě)
I know Mr Jiránek from before, he has long been dedicated to crime prevention and to Romani people. I consider him to be a solid person who is inclined toward solutions that will improve the situation of the Romani minority. I am unable to judge whether he has the skills needed for the position of director of the Agency for Social Inclusion. Right now the Agency is targeting social inclusion, which is good work, but the fact that it does not acknowledge Roma as people who find themselves in harsh living situations because of their origins, the fact that it does not recognize the ethno-emancipation principle of integration, is leading it astray. Now it is necessary to speak with Mr Jiránek about where the next steps will lead.
Martina Horváthová, Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs
I know Radek Jiránek as an expert from the Interior Ministry and he strikes me as a professional. However, he primarily knows Romani minority issues from his position as the leader of their crime prevention programs. Currently I am not able to guess what his plans are for his role as the new director of the Agency.
Michal Miko, project coordinator, Slovo 21
I don't want to judge Mr Jiránek right away, but I am very curious what his approach will be to leading the Agency given his previous experience at the Interior Ministry. The choice of Mr Jiránek once again raises the question of whether the ethno-emancipation efforts of Roma will finally be seen in practice at the Agency and whether its doors will be open to the Roma themselves.
David Beňák, head of the Department of Social Affairs and Health, Prague 14 Municipal Department
I see Radek Jiránek as an experienced person and a top-notch expert. He has had practical experience with many municipalities. I think that as the new director of the Agency he can actually contribute to calming the situation. I have no reason to believe otherwise.
Edita Stejskalová, political scientist and Romani Studies scholar
Mr Jiránek has convinced the hiring panel of his managerial skills and professional qualities. He applied for the position of director of the Agency years ago and came in second place after Šimáček. I don't know the names of the other candidates, but the panel's choice is not surprising. Mr Jiránek is a person who has focused on questions connected with the Romani minority during his time at the Interior Ministry, so I presume he has knowledge in that area.
Jan Šipoš, field social worker, People in Need, Chomutov
I don't know Mr Jiránek very well, but we have met more than once in a work setting. I don't know what kind of respect he enjoys in the social sphere, but the former director of the Agency, Martin Šimáček, is one of the best experts in the country on social inclusion and set the bar very high. I do not envy the new director his position, it is important that he have top-notch people with him, the kind that were there during Šimáček's tenure, and even then it will be hard to measure up.
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