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Sinn Féin publishes Dáil motion opposing community sector cutbacks

7 October, 2011 - by Brian Stanley TD


Sinn Féin will use Private Members Business in the Dáil next week to introduce a motion calling on the Government to end the cutbacks to the community and voluntary sector.

The motion says it is unacceptable for the State to abdicate its own responsibility for the delivery of vital services to the community and voluntary sector without providing adequate support and long-term security of funding.

Speaking today as the motion was published, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Community, Deputy Brian Stanley said;

“We have seen over the past number of years a sustained attack on the community and voluntary sector. Reductions in funding and the hollowing out of genuine community development by abolishing voluntary boards of management and placing control under partnership programmes undermines local democracy and the bottom up approach upon which community development is based.

“We believe in the importance of this sector which provides the equivalent of 50,000 full-time jobs, with large numbers of part-time workers greatly increasing the total number employed. There are over 7,500 charitable, community and voluntary groups providing essential services to children, older people, people with disabilities or ill-health, vulnerable people, drug users, women, immigrants, Travellers and other ethnic minority groups, that the State is either unwilling or unable to provide.

“We completely reject disproportionate government cutbacks inflicted on community and voluntary groups, particularly those which are as a direct result of speaking out against government policies. It is for this reason that we are tabling this motion calling on the Government to give this sector the support it needs. We are also holding a protest against the cutbacks on Wednesday 12th October at 17.30 at Leinster House to show the Government that we do not accept these cuts and are asking all community and voluntary sector groups to mobilise to show these cuts are unacceptable.” ENDS


Community Sector PMB Motion:

That Dáil Éireann
- Recognises that the community sector is estimated to be worth €6.5 billion to the Irish economy, three times the size of the State’s investment, proving that the community and voluntary sector is a cost effective medium for the provision of many vital services
- Notes that the delivery costs of many of the services currently provided by this sector would be substantially greater if Government departments, the HSE, or private companies were to deliver the same level of service directly
- Notes that the Community & Voluntary Sector provides essential services which the state and private sectors are unwilling or unable to provide.
- Acknowledges that it is unacceptable for the State to abdicate its own responsibility for the delivery of vital services to the community and voluntary sector without providing adequate support and long-term security of funding
- Condemns the hollowing out of genuine community development by abolishing voluntary boards of management and placing control under partnership programmes which undermines local democracy and the bottom up approach upon which community development is based
- Notes that the sector provides the equivalent of 50,000 full-time jobs, with large numbers of part-time workers greatly increasing the total number employed
- Recognises and supports the community and voluntary sector’s right to engage in advocacy as a valuable contribution to policymaking
- Notes that there are 7,500 charitable, community and voluntary groups providing essential services to children, older people, people with disabilities or ill-health, vulnerable people, drug users, women, immigrants, Travellers and other ethnic minority groups
- Commends the sector for being a tireless advocate for communities dealing with some of Ireland’s most serious social and economic problems, and for working to empower marginalised communities to apply their own solutions to their own problems
- Recognises the potential of the community and voluntary sector, as both a service provider and an advocate, and further recognises that as unemployment rises and struggling public services are overwhelmed, community organisations are being pushed to fill the gap
- Rejects the disproportionate government cutbacks inflicted on community and voluntary groups, particularly those which are as a direct result of speaking out against government policies
- Notes that these cuts are targeting programmes that serve the most vulnerable in our society and deepen existing inequalities despite the acknowledgment in the Programme for Government that the community and voluntary sector has a ‘vital role’ in tackling poverty and protecting the most vulnerable
- Affirms that the community and voluntary sector need to participate in decision making and must be able to monitor and challenge Government without fear of repercussions so as to fulfil a watchdog function on the political class
- Calls upon the Government to reverse the cuts in funding to the community and voluntary sector and move towards multi-annual funding in order to allow organisations to plan ahead and end the practice of funding bodies requiring the production of detailed business plans before giving any indication of the size of the budget available for the year in question
- Calls upon the Government to ringfence €50 million per year from the dormant accounts fund for the community and voluntary sector, ringfence monies seized by CAB for community development and community based drug projects and introduce a VAT refund scheme for charities
- Calls upon the Government to re-conceptualise and extend the CE scheme. by increasing the number of CE places available, including Special CE.
- Acknowledges that social enterprise has the potential to create 5,000 jobs a year, and that community and voluntary organisations could benefit from the potential posed by social enterprise and calls upon the Government to support social enterprises trade in pursuit of social objectives, including job creation, which is a valued end in itself
- Calls upon the Government to implement the Labour Court recommendations and furthermore, to allow community and voluntary sector workers to negotiate their pay and conditions on a collective basis by introducing a mechanism involving Departments, employers and workers which establishes the right to collective bargaining
- Calls upon the Government to establish an All-Ireland Consultative Civic Forum promised by the Good Friday Agreement, which would enable communities to engage with others across civic society and across the country and share information, learning and best practice on an All-Ireland basis.
Brian Stanley, Gerry Adams, Michael Colreavy, Seán Crowe, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Martin Ferris, Mary Lou McDonald, Sandra McLellan, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Jonathan O'Brien, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Peadar Tóibín.

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