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Government must stop slash and burn approach to the community and voluntary sector – Tóibín

12 October, 2011

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on jobs, enterprise and innovation, Peadar Tóibín TD, has tonight called on the government, “to call a halt to the slash and burn approach to the community and voluntary sector.”

Speaking this evening in support of Sinn Féin's motion opposing the cuts to the sector, Deputy Tóibín praised the sector, saying,

“The services provided by this sector are the services which could not or would not be provided by the state or private sectors. These projects are the glue keeping families and communities together.

“The ongoing war of cuts being waged by this government and its predecessors is unacceptable. It is time the cuts imposed in recent budgets be reversed. In opposition Labour applauded and supported many these projects. But since taking office their silence has been deafening.

“Tonight's motion gives Labour TDs an opportunity to grow back bones, stand up and be counted. Do not let yourselves be hoodwinked like the previous junior partners in government.

“The government should recognise the potential the community sector has in delivering vital services and creating employment. Community based drug services, crèches, youth services, senior citizen support groups are all vital to the protection and development of our communities. In fact the current policies of austerity being pursued by this government make these services even more vital.

“The government should abandon their band aid solutions of An Tús and reinvest in the community and voluntary sector. Community Employment Schemes need to be expanded. Special CE Scheme places, employing 1000 people who are in recovery from drug addiction need to be increased to 1,500 and mainstream CE places increased from 22,000 to 40,000.”

In conclusion Deputy Toibín called on the government to “respond positively to the Labour Relations Court findings which recommend that the state has responsibility to those employed in the Community and Voluntary Sector. Legislation must be introduced to allow for collective bargaining and guarantee trade union recognition. Both these rights are being denied to over 50,000 workers in direct contravention of the UN Charter of Human Rights.”

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