Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has raised concerns about changes to local government structures contained in the Local Government Reform Bill which he says will have an impact on the community and voluntary sector.
Speaking on the Local Government Reform Bill in the Seanad today Ó Clochartaigh said;
“The realignment of the infrastructure to deliver community and voluntary supports in Minister Hogan’s proposals is that it takes power away from the frontline providers and centralises it under the local authorities. It is also a blatant move by the establishment to control those who may be critical of government responses to community needs.
“I also agree with the Community Workers Co-operative analysis that outlines that 'the bill gives the state control over the local element of independent Irish civil society and that it is vital that the sector is autonomous and independent in order to work towards social change'.
“There has been a distinct lack of consultation on the reform with stakeholders in the sector and this must be a cause of concern for all of us, as is the omission of key organisations such as the National Traveller Partnership, the National Collective of Community-based Women's Networks, the National Women's Council, the Community Workers Co-operative, Pavee Point, the National Traveller Women's Forum and others from its listing of relevant bodies which should be consulted.
“This bill has many flaws and should be withdrawn for those reasons, but its treatment of the community groups shows that under Fine Gael and Labour the sector is due to be restructured and dismantled to the detriment of local participation and decision making.”